Holy Angels' parish is in charge of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, a religious congregation founded in the early part of the last century by Rev. Charles Joseph Eugene De Mazenod, who became Bishop of Marseilles.  The Oblate Fathers, as they are called, were invited to Buffalo by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Timon, to take charge of the Diocesan Seminary and College.  In August, 1851, Rev. Father Chevalier, with two assistants, Father Soulerin and Father Corbett, came from Montreal and opened the seminary and college in a brick house where the cathedral rectory now stands.  Father Corbett attended to St. Joseph's Chapel, a frame building on the Terrace, where St. Joseph's College was subsequently built.

The house used for a seminary and college not being suitable for the purpose, land was purchased on Prospect Hill, where stood the county poor house.  This large brick building was fitted up in the best possible style, and to it in September, 1852, were transferred the seminary and college.  A numerous staff of talented and devoted teachers promised well for the success of these two important institutions; but for want of sufficient support and encouragement both seminary and college were closed in 1855.  Father Chevalier then taught theology to a few seminarians in the Bishop's house, and subsequently engaged in missionary work.  The fathers who began the establishment on Prospect Hill were: Rev. Edward Chevalier, Superior, Rev. Richard Maloney, Rev. Father Mauroit, Rev. Fathers Soulerin, Paillier, Trudeau.

Father Corbett was the first pastor of the Holy Angels' parish.  The congregation, then small, worshipped in a small chapel on the corner of West Avenue and York Street.  This was a building which had been used as the hospital for the insane patients of the poor house, but which had been decorated and fitted up as a chapel.  The church in which the faithful of Holy Angels' parish now worship was begun in the autumn of 1857, completed in 1858, and dedicated in the same year by Rt. Rev. Bishop Timon.

In May, 1860, Rev. J. M. Guillard became pastor, and soon succeeded in improving the interior, which later on he greatly enlarged, and adorned with a grand marble altar. In 1856, he left for Ottawa, and returned as pastor in 1873, at the death of the Rev. Superior, Father Sallaz, who had just provided his community with a pastoral residence befitting its fine locality.  Previous to this Fathers Maloney, Paillier, Trudeau, Coopman, Kavanaugh and others, won the esteem and affection of the people of Holy Angels' parish.

For sixteen years from his second appointment, Father Guillard remained pastor of Holy Angels' Church and Superior of the Oblate community.  He built three parochial schools in Holy Angels' parish.  Two of them, Barton Street school and Brayton Street school, are now in the Annunciation parish and the Nativity parish, respectively, owing to repeated divisions of Holy Angels' parish.  The third Holy Angels' school, a large costly building, was begun and opened in 1880.

The Juniorate, a preparatory college for aspirants to the Oblate Order, was opened in 1891, with a staff of seven fathers, five scholastic, three lay brothers, and eighteen juniors.  In 1894 a college in connection with the Juniorate was opened with the assent of Rt. Rev. Bishop Ryan; so that now Holy Angels' parish, with its college, parish school and magnificent academy for girls, is indeed well equipped for the primary and advanced education of all its children.

Rev. D. O'Riordan was appointed superior and pastor in 1888.  During his administration the church was improved and decorated, the towers were renewed and a grand improvement took place.

In March, 1892, Rev. Theophile Lavoie became pastor, a position in which he was replaced a year later by Rev. James McGrath.  Father McGrath died suddenly of heart disease whilst on his way to Lowell, January 12, 1896.  After the sudden and lamented death of Father McGrath, Father James Quinn was appointed pastor.  During his pastorship an admirable transformation took place in the sanctuary and through the whole church.  Its interior is now enriched with the finest specimens of painting and statuary.  He was succeeded by the Rev. M. F. Fallon, D. D.

The Rev. M. F. Fallon, O. M. I., came in 1901 and his pastorate is memorable for the magnificent parochial school building in Grecian style of architecture, which he built for the parish.  The new school was dedicated by Bishop Colton, June 30, 1906, and was opened the following September under the direction of the Grey Nuns, who have had charge of the parochial school since 1859.  Father Fallon was appointed Bishop of London, Ontario, in 1910, and the Rev. William Kirwin, O. M. I., came as pastor of Holy Angels'.  Father Kirwin reduced the debt and gave way to the Rev. T. W. Smith, O. M. I., former provincial, in January, 1922.  The parish celebrated its diamond jubilee, November 21, 1926.

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Holly Timm
Cheektowaga, New York