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Bishop visits Cattaraugus County for dedication of church windows in Himphrey

HUMPHREY – Bright sunshine greeted Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo during his visit Sunday to St. Pacificus oratory to dedicate new windows in the small country church.

But the windows were not exactly new. They came from a Buffalo church, St. Monica’s in the Old First Ward, which closed 20 years ago.

The windows were salvaged and placed in storage at the diocesan chancery.

They proved to be a “perfect match” for the church in Humphrey, spiritual home to eight generations of local Catholics.

St. Pacificus’ old windows were in need of replacement.

“They were old and cracked; some didn’t open and had dry rot,” said the Rev. Ronald B. Mierzwa, pastor of St. Pacificus and Holy Name of Mary Church in Ellicottville.

To help defray the cost of window installation, groups from the St. Pacificus community donated funds, some in memory of loved ones.

Plaques on the window frames designate the memorials.

St. Pacificus Church was the first of many mission churches founded by the Franciscan Friars and, according to Mierzwa, the only church in North America to be dedicated to St. Pacificus, the patron saint of those with chronic pain.

The Franciscan friars assumed responsibility for the church of 170 members in 1893.

An extensive renovation took place in the 1940s. St. Pacificus has had several pastors over the years. In 1989, the Rev. J. Gregory Brennan assumed the role.

Brennan drowned in August 2007. After his death, the church became an oratory under the pastoral care of Mierzwa.

Although weekly Masses were suspended, several are offered during the year, and the church is available for baptisms, weddings and funerals.

The statue of St. Pacificus was commissioned in 2013 and installed in the church.

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