ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH
BUFFALO, NEW YORK

The great iron industries brought many residents to South Buffalo about the year 1874.  St. Brigid's Church was overcrowded; and many of the people of that parish had a long distance to come on Sundays, which was a grievous task for some of the old people, and inconvenient at some seasons of the year also for the young.  Bishop Ryan therefore resolved in 1875, to establish a new parish, at some convenient locality in South Buffalo.  He appointed for this work the Rev. Eugene McDermott, who was well acquainted with the locality and with the people, from his residence, as assistant pastor of St. Brigid's.  He dwelt for some months at the parish residence of St. Brigid's parish, whilst he was organizing his congregation and erecting a building in which they might hold services.  He secured property on Elk Street, and on this land he erected a plain brick building.  He built also a little frame structure in the rear of this building, and in this little shanty he established his residence.  He secured more property, April, 1878, south of the church building, and on a part of this lot he erected a brick parish residence.

This portion of the city grew very rapidly, and in a few years the little brick church was inadequate to accommodate the number of people who came there to hear Mass on Sundays.  Father McDermott was very energetic and possessed good business and executive ability; and he at once decided to erect a fine stone church building, which would serve the needs of the parish for all time to come, and which would be a credit to the congregation and an ornament to that part of the city.  He superintended the work himself; and the new stone building went up around the walls of the little brick church, in which services were held until the new church building was ready for the use of the congregation.  More property was secured in the rear of the church building, and the two-story frame structure was converted into a school for the children of the parish.  The Sisters of Mercy came from St. Brigid's, on Fulton Street, until the new convent building was erected for their use, adjoining the church.  Father McDermott erected a magnificent school building on the corner of Elk Street and Euclid Place, with a large hall in the upper story for the uses of the societies of the parish and school entertainments.

Father McDermott died in 1989 and, the Rev. H. M. Leddy succeeded him as pastor of St. Stephen's.  Father Leddy paid off some of the debt and made improvements in the property.

Father Leddy died July 6, 1912, and the Rev. Thomas Barrett was appointed pastor of St. Stephen's August 6th of the same year.

Father Barrett has made many improvements in the church, school and rectory.

Father Barrett was made a Domestic Prelate by His Holiness, Pope Pius XI, in 1924, and the ceremony of investiture was conducted by Cardinal Borrano in the Chapel of the Propaganda, at Rome, in October of the same year.



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Holly Timm
Cheektowaga, New York
erie@nygenweb.com