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Bishop Henry J. Mansell will celebrate a Mass at 4:30 p.m. next Saturday in St. Joseph's Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Buffalo.

The diaconate currently includes 90 permanent deacons. All deacons, their wives and family are invited. The Mass will be followed by a banquet in the Buffalo Convention Center. For tickets, call 847-5542.

Church to offer free barbecue

Word of Life Church will provide a free barbecue for homeless and needy people in the field next to WGRZ-TV at 285 Delaware Ave. after a special program beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday. Word of Life Church provides a free meal once a month. Last month, the church fed 250 people.

Community Choir to sing

The Community Gospel Choir from Resurrection Lutheran Church in Buffalo, known for its spirited presentation of traditional Gospel hymns, will sing at the 10 a.m. service Sunday in Amherst Lutheran Church, 5125 Main St. The public is invited.

Gospel convocation planned

A Multi-Cultural Gospel Convocation will be held next weekend in Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, 765 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst. Meetings will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and next Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 30, including a community picnic at 1:30 p.m. All meetings are free.

The event will feature ethnic speakers who work in multicultural or multiracial ministries. They include the Rev. Arturo Lucero of California; the Rev. Jack Chen and the Rev. David Field, both of Toronto; the Rev. Quentin Blue Eye of Raymond Community Church, Lockport; the Rev. Emory Brown of Refreshing Springs Tabernacle, Buffalo; the Rev. Will Coplin of Urban Christian Ministries, Buffalo; and the Rev. Joseph Krygier of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, Amherst.

Music will be offered by several ethnic and multiracial groups from Buffalo, Rochester and Toronto. Special children's meetings will be held Friday evening and Aug. 30.

Voice of the Martyrs to meet

Voice of the Martyrs, which calls attention to the persecution of Christians around the world, will hold its first regional conference in the Buffalo area Sept. 5 in the Buffalo/Niagara Marriott, 1340 Millersport Highway, Amherst.

Speakers include Tom White and Noble Alexander, both formerly imprisoned in Cuba; Mike Weygandt, who works in the Sudan; Dr. Joshua Vang, who escaped Laos; and Dr. B. Nagy, who oversees Voice of the Martyrs radio broadcasts to the Arab world. For registration, call 1-800-747-0085.

Ministry on the River

The interfaith Summer Ministry on the River outreach program will hold two programs Sunday -- a morning riverside worship service and an afternoon event for artists.

The Rev. James N. Brewster, pastor of Tonawanda United Methodist Church, will lead the Worship on the Water service at 8:45 p.m. on the lawn of the Long Homestead at Ellicott Creek and the Erie Canal. Coffee and refreshments will be served.

The Artists' Afternoon program, an informal program for artists of all skills, will begin at 2 p.m. by meeting at Tonawanda United Methodist Church, 221 Morgan St., City of Tonawanda. The group then will go to a scenic place on or near the canal and river. For information, call 693-2933.

Evensong celebration Aug. 30

The Center for Celtic Spirituality will hold an evensong celebration of St. Aiden of Lindisfarne at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 30 in St. Aiden's Episcopal Church, 13021 W. Main St., Alden. All Celts, by ancestry or spirit, are invited. St. Aiden, who stressed inclusion and environmental stewardship, helped establish a monastery that sent Christian missionaries throughout the British Isles and northern Europe.

Musical comedy to premiere

Promise Theater Company will stage the American premiere of the musical comedy "In the Lion's Den" Sept. 17 to 20 and Sept. 24 to 26 in Forbes Theater, 500 Pearl St. Show times are 8 p.m., except for a Sept. 18 show at 8:30 p.m. and a Sept. 26 matinee at 2:30 p.m.

Based on the life of Old Testament prophet Daniel, the play features a large cast and was written by Promise Theater founder and president Jane Pecora. It debuted in St. Catharines, Ont., in 1996. For tickets, call 845-6476.

Prayer for Peace Festival

Back to Basics Outreach Ministries will hold a Back to School Prayer for Peace Festival from 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 4 on Jefferson Avenue between East North and High streets. Activities will include basketball, face painting for youngsters, music, prizes, a skit and leading public officials as speakers. All are invited.

Salamanca pastor to retire

The Rev. Connie Kwiatkowski, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Salamanca since October 1967, will retire Sept. 1, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo announced.

A native of Baltimore, Father Kwiatkowski attended St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, St. Hyacinth College and Theological Seminary in Granby, Mass., and St. Bonaventure University.

He was ordained into the priesthood in 1947. The following year, he became assistant pastor at Holy Trinity Parish in Niagara Falls, serving for nine years. He was assigned to Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in North Tonawanda in 1957 and was named parish administrator in 1965.

Father Kwiatkowski also served as city director of CYO, organized a parish youth baseball team, taught religion at Bishop Gibbons High School and served as a member of the Pre-Cana Diocesan Speakers Team.

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