ST. TERESA'S CHURCH
BUFFALO, NEW YORK

In 1897 there was a large settlement in South Buffalo, south of Buffalo Creek.  The Catholics among the population of this district had long distances to travel to church.  The churches that were nearest to them were St. Stephen's on Elk Street, and the church at West Seneca; and either one of these was too far for many of the people in disagreeable weather.  The bishop decided to establish a new parish for the people of this district.  In April, 1897, the Rev. M. J.  Kean was appointed pastor of the new parish.  He immediately assembled his people, and held the first service in an old abandoned public school on Cazenovia Street.  This was a little brick building, and it served the purpose of the congregation for over two years, until their handsome new church was ready for dedication.  In April, 1898, the congregation oas organized as an incorporated body, and the following trustees composed the first official representatives of St. Teresa's parish: Rt. Rev. J. Quigley, President; Very Rev. M. P. Connery, Vicar General; Rev. M. J. Kean, Treasurer; Mr. F. E. Finsterbach, Secretary, and Mr. William H. Fitzpatrick.  The parish was incorporated under the title of St. Teresa's Roman Catholic Church Society of Buffalo, N.Y.  The handsome property of Mr. William H. Fitzpatrick, at 1974 Seneca Street, was purchased and also a lot on the corner of Seneca and Hayden Streets was bought from Nelson Holland.  Plans were prepared by Architect Post, for a brown stone church building, which would be sufficiently large to accommodate 600 persons.  Mr. J. J. McDonough received the contract for the mason work, and Mr. Anthony Klaus received the contract for the carpenter work.  Ground was broken in June, 1898, and the cornerstone was laid on the 24th of the month following by Bishop Quigley.  Work was hurried on the new building, because the congregation was threatened with eviction from the little brick school building, as this was required as an annex to the overcrowded No. 27 public school.  The first services were held in the new church on the 21st of May, 1899.  The handsome residence, which Mr. Fitzpatrick had built for his own use, was purchased along with the property and is the parochial residence of the pastor.

Father Kean died February 20, 1916, and the Rev. Edmund Gibbons was appointed pastor of St. Teresa's.  Father Gibbons made plans to accommodate the increasing numbers in his school and church, but before he could fully carry them out he was appointed Bishop of Albany.

The Rev. John F. Ryan came to St. Teresa's as pastor shortly after the departure of his episcopal predecessor in the spring of 1919, and he immediately set to work to provide accommodations for a much larger parish.

The parish had been growing rapidly in numbers, and Father Ryan found that both church and school were inadequate to accommodate the ever increasing congregation.  He nearly doubled the seating capacity of the church in 1925.  He built a large addition to the school, which will give him twelve more class rooms, for the very large number of children in the parish.  This work was finished and ready for the opening of the school in September, 1926.  St. Teresa's is a very handsome brown stone structure, and is a credit to the pastor and his congregation, and an ornament to South Buffalo.



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Holly Timm
Cheektowaga, New York
erie@nygenweb.com