ST. AGNES' CHURCH
BUFFALO, NEW YORK

There was a considerable settlement of Germans a mile or two beyond the stock yards in 1880. Many of these were Catholics, and were two or three miles from the nearest church. In 1882, Bishop Ryan directed the Rev. Otto Hogenforst, S.J., of St. Ann's Church, to take the Catholic census of that district to ascertain the number of Catholic families who might form a new congregation. The Rev. P. Hoelscher, D. D., who was then chancellor of the diocese, completed the census, and upon his report steps were taken to organize a new parish. Property was bought in September, 1883, on Benzinger Street, and soon a little frame structure was erected and the church was ready for services on the 9th day of December, 1883. There were about one hundred and thirty-five families in the new parish at the time of its formation, and Dr. Hoelscher guided the destines of the infant parish until his departure for Europe in April, 1884. During Dr. Hoelscher's absence the Rev. Peter Trauscht, the assistant of Father Baker at West Seneca, took charge of St. Agnes' parish.

The Rev. Charles Schaus was appointed pastor of St. Agnes' in August, 1884. Father Schaus went to work with a will, and he soon erected a commodious school building, a convent for the sisters, and a comfortable parochial residence for the pastor. He also added a large plot of ground to the property to provide for future growth. Father Schaus was succeeded in March, 1893, by the Rev. Joseph Fischer. Father Fischer completed the addition to the school building commenced by Father Schaus, and in the following five years he paid off the indebtedness on the church property. The church and school buildings were intended merely for the temporary accommodation of the congregation at the time of their erection. The future growth of the parish was problematic at that time, and the buildings were erected to provide for present wants. After paying off the indebtedness, Father Fischer began to accumulate funds for the erection of permanent buildings.

The new brick church building was started in 1904 and was finished the following year. In 1915 Father Fischer erected a fine large brick school building. Father Fischer died February 28, 1916, and was succeeded by the Rev. John Kiefer. Three years later Father Kiefer had the church redecorated and put in fine stained glass windows. He built a new rectory in 1922. Father Kiefer died May 27, 1926, and the Rev. Michael Anstett was appointed pastor of St. Agnes' July 1, 1926.



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Holly Timm
Cheektowaga, New York
erie@nygenweb.com