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A Mass to commemorate the great 19th century famine in Ireland will be celebrated at 6:15 p.m. next Saturday in St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 450 Abbott Road.

The Mass will be preceded at 5:45 by a procession and a talk by Thomas F. Higgins, former Erie County sheriff, on the famine that occurred between 1845 and 1850 and the wave of immigration it produced. Bishop Henry J. Mansell of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese will be the principal celebrant, assisted by the Rev. Arthur J. Smith, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, and other clergy.

The event, open to the public, is sponsored by the Western New York Irish Famine Commemoration Committee, headed by Sheila Barrett. Michael Redmond and Margaret McGrath are responsible for planning the Mass.

'Souper Bowl of Caring'

More than 60 churches from a broad cross-section of denominations in Western New York will join thousands of others around the nation Sunday in an effort to feed hungry people through the "Souper Bowl of Caring."

Begun in 1990 by 22 South Carolina churches, the fund-raising effort is conducted by young people, who collect dollar bills in soup kettles at church doors after services on Super Bowl Sunday. The money collected is contributed directly to local charities that help needy people.

The campaign is coordinated nationally by volunteers. Last year, 11,300 congregations raised $2.5 million.

Musicians Guild to hear Scinta

Frank Scinta, choir director and organist at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Buffalo, will be featured speaker during a meeting of the Church Musicians Guild at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 66 E. Main St., Hamburg.

Scinta, a well-known conductor and teacher who has directed numerous choral and opera programs, will discuss the use of chant and plain song in contemporary worship. The program is free and open to everyone.

Two choirs will join

The Ridley College Choir of St. Catharines, Ont., will join the choir of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Orchard Park, in singing the Service of Morning Prayer at 10 a.m. Sunday in the Orchard Park church, 6595 E. Quaker St.

The choirs will sing works of Bach and Rutter, and the Ridley Choir will offer several other pieces. The Ridley Choir consists of 40 students ranging from ninth grade through post-graduate level. Everyone is welcome.

Spirituality is course topic

A 10-session course in spirituality for adults will be offered beginning Feb. 7 in Hamburg Unitarian Universalist Church, 142 Union St.

The course, based on the Unitarian Universalist "On the Path" curriculum, will be facilitated by Alice Anacheka-Nasemann, interim minister of the church. It will explore such practices as meditation, yoga and journaling.

The free course will be presented at 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of the month. To register, call Anacheka-Nasemann at 838-0407.

Catholic Schools Week

Bishop Henry J. Mansell of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese will celebrate a Mass to mark the conclusion of Catholic Schools Week at 10 a.m. Feb. 6 in St. Joseph's Cathedral, 50 Franklin St.

The annual observance, which begins Sunday, will be celebrated with open-house programs, community service events and parish and regional Masses throughout the diocese. About 29,300 children are enrolled in Catholic elemen-tary and high schools in Western New York.

Catholic school and religious education students, teachers at every level, campus ministers, adult education coordinators and others involved with any form of Catholic education have been invited to the Mass.

A contemporary look at God

"God at 2000," a closed-circuit televised symposium on the contemporary perception of God, featuring seven internationally known panelists, will be downlinked Feb. 11 and 12 in Hultquist Library at Jamestown Community College.

The event, co-sponsored by Chautauqua Institution and intended for a lay audience, will run from noon to 7:30 p.m. each day and will provide an opportunity for live interaction. The registration fee is $10 per day. Details are available by calling Chautauqua at 357-6248.

The panelists will be Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu and scholar-authors Marcus Borg, Diana Eck, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Sister Joan Chittister, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner and Karen Armstrong.

The Gospel of St. John

Monsignor Peter J. Popadick, pastor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church, Cheektowaga, will present a series of talks on the Gospel of St. John on each of the four Wednesdays in February, beginning next week in the parish school, 157 Cleveland Drive.

The discussions, free and open to everyone, will be conducted from 7 to 8:30 p.m. They are being held in conjunction with the celebration of Jubilee Year 2000.

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