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The annual Hill Cumorah Pageant, billed as one of the world's largest and best-known outdoor religious theatrical productions, will be presented for the 64th year by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning Friday at a site along Route 21 near Palmyra.

The colorful religious drama, featuring a cast of nearly 650, will continue Saturday and be presented again July 10 through 14. The production is known for its Hollywood-scale special effects, high-technology lighting and music recorded by the Utah Symphony, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Salt Lake Children's Choir.

The 75-minute production, based on the Bible and the Book of Mormon, is presented at 9 p.m. each day. Admission and parking are free.

The pageant site is a short distance from the new Latter-day Saints Temple that opened last summer and church founder Joseph Smith's family farm, which is being restored.

Home missioner to speak

The Rev. Gus Guppenberger, a member of the Glenmary Home Missioners, will discuss the work of the society of priests and brothers during Masses this weekend and next in Batavia and Randolph.

A native of Batavia, Guppenberger, who was ordained in 1961, will speak during Masses today and Sunday in St. Mary's Catholic Church, Batavia. Next weekend he will speak during Masses in St. Patrick's Church, Randolph.

The Glenmary Home Missioners minister in areas of the United States where less than one percent of the population is Catholic and the poverty rate is twice the national average. They currently have 60 missions in 15 dioceses.

Summer ministry program

Summer Ministry on the River, the ecumenical outreach program sponsored by the Twin Cities Ministerial Association, will present its first service of the season at 8:45 a.m. Sunday at Long Homestead at the junction of the Erie Canal and Ellicott Creek, City of Tonawanda.

The service will be conducted by the Rev. James N. Brewster, president of the ministerial group and pastor of Tonawanda United Methodist Church. Those wishing to attend should park in the public lot near Walgreen's and take lawn chairs.

The Summer Ministry program also will include interfaith Bible studies, spiritual discussion and meditation, evening vespers, a field trip to the Chautauqua Institution and other events.

Dealing with difficult people

Workshops on how to deal with chaos and with difficult people will be offered in July at the St. Joseph Center for Spirituality, 4975 Strickler Road, Clarence.

Carol Wolf will present a one-day workshop titled "Contemplation in Chaos: Living Peacefully in a Chaotic World" from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 14. "Dealing with Difficult People" will be the topic of a program led by Sister Joan Wagner from 2 to 5 p.m. July 31.

For registration and fee information, call the center at 759-6893, Ext. 408.

Armstrong at Chautauqua

Ronald J. Young and Karen Armstrong will serve as chaplain and lecturer, respectively, for the Religion Department's second-week summer program beginning Sunday at the Chautauqua Institution.

Young, an authority on the Middle East and interfaith cooperation, is executive director of the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East. He will lead services at 10:45 a.m. Sunday and at 9:15 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Armstrong, a former Catholic nun, is a full-time broadcaster and author whose books include "The Battle for God." She will lecture at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Seminary financial appeal

Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora, will conduct its annual financial appeal in parishes throughout the Buffalo Catholic Diocese during July to raise funds to operate the facility.

Last year's collection raised $342,000, the highest amount ever, with all of the money used to directly support seminary operations. The fund raising, scheduled at the convenience of pastors throughout July, takes the form of a collection at weekend Masses in each of the 266 parishes in the diocese.

The Rev. Richard W. Siepka, president and rector of the seminary, said the appeal is crucial to the seminary's operation because it provides money needed to educate future priests and others in ordained and nonordained capacities.

Procession for St. Anthony

A procession in honor of St. Anthony and St. Eugene de Mazenod, founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, will be held at 4 p.m. Friday on the grounds of Holy Angels Catholic Church, 348 Porter Ave.

The procession will be held in conjunction with the celebration this year of the 150th anniversary of the parish and as a kickoff for the annual parish carnival on Friday through Sunday. Members of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate staff the parish.

Rev. Pearson to preach

The Rev. Robert N. Pearson, a former pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, Snyder, will be guest preacher at a special service at 10 a.m. Sunday in the Snyder Fire Hall, 4531 Main St., Amherst.

Pearson, who now lives in Minneapolis, served as pastor from 1966 through 1970. The Rev. Nancy A. Milleville, the pastor of Ascension, will conduct the service. The fire hall is the site of the congregation's first service on July 4, 1926.

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