Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

St. Anthony's

October 31, 2022 - 9:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Halloween, City Church, St. Anthony's, batavia, news.

stanthonyshalloween2022.jpg

City Church hosted a Fall Festival at its St. Anthony's campus on Liberty Street on Monday, with activities, games, a hay ride, a bounce house, face painting, candy and grilled cheese.

stanthonyshalloween2022-2.jpg

stanthonyshalloween2022-3.jpg

stanthonyshalloween2022-4.jpg

stanthonyshalloween2022-5.jpg

August 10, 2022 - 1:20pm

a76y3649.jpg

Pastor Ryan Macdonald from City Church, St. Anthony's site, says it’s been a pleasure to be part of a community social gathering that brings everyone together to share in food, fun and activities. 

"The weather played in our favor tonight with lower humidity and being cloudy and cooler than the heat wave we have endured throughout this summer," Macdonald said during Tuesday's Community Night Out event. "This year I would say brought in 1,000 people over the course of the event.  We had over 50-plus vendors and more additional sponsors. We are so thankful to get behind the police department with the K-9 unit, and they are just a blessing to the community, and we are glad to be a part of it."

Photos by Steve Ognibene

a76y3620.jpg

a76y3621.jpg

a76y3625.jpg

a76y3628.jpg

a76y3630.jpg

a76y3636.jpg

a76y3632.jpg

a76y3619.jpg

a76y3631.jpg

a76y3635.jpg

a76y3634.jpg

a76y3637.jpg

August 9, 2022 - 9:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in community night out, City Church, St. Anthony's, Batavia PD, news.

img_5093nightout.jpeg

The Batavia Police Department, in conjunction with The City Church, hosts its annual Community Night Out event this evening, a community-building campaign that promotes strong police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make safer neighborhoods.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. 

Various organizations and groups once again will be participating, which will include free food, a bounce house, games for kids, and more.

Photo: File photo from 2021 by Howard Owens

 

April 19, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, celebration, City Church, batavia, St. Anthony's, notify.

4f505dc1-19c2-47ba-b711-650adaf6d79f.jpeg

From a men’s prayer breakfast to a pastor’s home, a YWCA meeting room and, finally, to a renovated movie theater, City Church has grown in size, stature and presence over the last 25 years.

That growth and existence was recently celebrated by the Batavia-based church community with a four-day celebration of family activities, an egg hunt with a special bunny, and an Easter Sunday service.

Senior Pastor Marty Macdonald saw the process as one of submission rather than a forced plan.

“That disappoints many people that, you know, are very goal-oriented … and I believe in all that, but I also sometimes believe that your dreams and your goals when submitted to the Lord, you have to be willing to allow him to move in that direction,” he said during an interview with The Batavian. “Because if you live long enough you find out life isn't always what you hoped it would turn out to be. And many times, if you entrust your life to God's process, he'll make it better than what you hoped or thought it would be.” 

And it was God’s process, he believes, that took a simple men’s breakfast to draw listeners to Macdonald and ask him where his church was located. “We don’t have a church” was his reply, and that served as the springboard to hold gatherings at the home of Macdonald and his wife Patti.That small group first met for an Easter Sunday service in 1997. Three or four years later, Rose Caccamise of Roxy’s Music Store then suggested to meet at YWCA on North Street, which is where the church settled until its numbers outgrew the space and a larger venue became available. 

In 2001, the church moved into the former Mancuso Theater on East Main Street. There has been another spurt of growth in 2016 with an expansion into the former St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church on Liberty Street, on the city’s Southside. 

From that first major step to set up at YWCA, Macdonald has reached out to his most reliable guide. He told Caccamise, “Let me pray about it.”

“I hung up the phone. It's kind of funny because I just felt really like the Lord saying to me, do I have to make it any plainer to do? So we did that,” he said. “We didn't have a sound system, and Rose, she gave us the sound system. She said whatever you can pay for, pay for it, because we weren't taking any money at the time; we just were getting together. So that's the formation of, you know, how we began, how it started.”

During an anniversary celebration talk last Thursday, he gave the analogy about a turtle on top of a fence post: you know he didn’t get there on his own, he said.

“And that's the way it is in my life and in the church as well, that a lot of people help,” he said.

One of his friends in Bellevue, Washington even inadvertently helped with the church name. Macdonald was at Dunkin’ Donuts mulling over possible names and thinking about his love for Batavia and the city community. It then came to him: City Church. The friend’s church had the same name so Macdonald asked if he could use it, and the reply was yes. City Church became incorporated as a not-for-profit. 

“You can see now, and going back to having goals and visions, my mind worked to that scale. But God, he had a bigger goal and a bigger vision,” he said. “Sometimes our goals and our dreams are much smaller than what God has for us.”

Church leaders pursued the theater once it came up for sale, he said, which was “amazing,” especially given the fact everyone was meeting at his home about four years prior. And then “we're moving into (the theater).”

“It was mammoth, you know, from meeting in your living room into a space to have 600 seats. And that was just a huge undertaking for us back then. But it's proved out to be an incredible place for church and for our multiple outreaches that we do on a regular basis,” he said.

The church has remained nondenominational — which isn’t to say Macdonald is “anti-denominations,” he said — as a community church with origins of being home-based, as early Christians had done. And as time has moved on, the congregation has grown under the tagline of “we do life together.”

“Because I'd hate to do it alone,” he said.

Part of doing life together includes his wife Patricia (Patti), and three sons, Benjamin, married to Amanda, and three children; Ryan, married to Samantha, and two sons; and Garrett, their youngest son. All of them help out at the church, and “I couldn’t have done it without any one of them,” the pastor said. Ryan assists with the ministry full-time and has developed into a polished and mature preacher, the proud dad said, and is doing “just a fabulous, fabulous job.”

“My family means just so much to me. And I'm just so grateful that they're all in church with me,” he said, adding that they all live in the nearby community. “And I'm just incredibly fortunate for that, I really am just fortunate.”

Macdonald credits son Ryan for taking the lead on repairs and revamping St. Anthony’s, plus activities such as open gym night and food distributions. 

“He's really just done a phenomenal job, turned that property around,” Macdonald said. “Just think of that. You know that St. Anthony's school was empty for 10 years. Nothing at the church for years … I walked in that church, there were pigeons flying through it. The school had holes in the roof, there was so much water running in there. And that's all been transformed. And largely, that's attributed to him and his gifting in that he's done an incredible job.”

The Generation Center, a large meeting and dining venue on Center Street, is another aspect of City Church, besides its many community programs. There are four weekly church services, small group sessions, open gym, activity night, game rooms, and food distributions every other week at St. Anthony’s for a crowd of up to 1,000 people. There are also celebrate-recovery groups and a food pantry. These programs have made “an incredible difference” to people in need, he said.

Macdonald keeps in touch with some of those needs as an active member on the Downtown Business Improvement District board, Community Justice Advisory Council and as a Notre Dame High School board member. He’s also been known to climb aboard a piece of equipment, say a forklift, and do what’s necessary. 

“And so we keep active in the community, and we love our city. We love the people that love our county or region. And I'm just really grateful for where we're at right now, really,” he said. “Now I really believe that God cares for the city, He cares for people. The Bible says ‘when the city is healthy when the city rejoices, people prosper.‘ And I really believe that, I see that in our city. I see our city greater now than I've seen it in the years that I've been there. 

“We're always going to have challenges. People are going to think things should be one way or the other. But where the city is at right now, where it's headed, I really think it's amazing to see the changes that are taking place.”

Editor's Note: Howard Owens contributed to this article. 

14cb438a-c842-4163-bf84-9db1fb4c7761.jpeg

9bf68585-12ec-483f-b84c-cb41bb7cc591.jpeg

4e9128a4-81a6-4d45-b7cf-6910f21a7b50.jpeg

c927dd3c-bc4b-41a6-a210-8d5db82aee91.jpeg

9ce42f71-7cff-4ddd-84b3-cb4a9079427f.jpeg

031ef513-6299-4827-a886-792f8e24e822.jpeg

0fc54158-16bd-4af0-a0cf-2f4fe5126a27.jpeg

97dd363f-b65e-4f38-bf60-0cb65e40dee7.jpeg

Top photo: Senior Pastor Marty Macdonald leads a service on stage at City Church in Batavia. Ryan Macdonald follows in his dad's footsteps as a full-time ministry assistant at City Church. Senior Pastor Marty Macdonald and members of the congregation participate in an Easter Sunday service at the East Main Street church. Photos by Howard Owens.

 

July 16, 2021 - 12:32pm

From BPD:

The City of Batavia Police Department will host the annual Community Night Out from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at City Church's St. Anthony's campus, located at 114 Liberty St. in Batavia.

Expect free food, a bounce house, games, horses (horses, of course), vendors, "& more!"

If you want more information about how to become a sponsor or have a booth at the event, contact Detective Wojtaszczyk at:  [email protected]

June 23, 2021 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Anthony's, City Church, batavia, COVID-19.

img_4568food.jpg

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, City Church, at its St. Anthony facility, has continued to offer free food to anybody who drives through on the distribution today. There was another distribution this morning with a line of cars stretched down Liberty Street and dozens of volunteers helping with the distribution.

img_4566food.jpg

img_4563food.jpg

img_4558food.jpg

img_4552food.jpg

June 22, 2021 - 2:18pm

Press release:

The City Church and St. Anthony's are excited to announce the opening back up of their Tuesday Night Activity Nights on July 6th.

They offer basketball, four square, a game room and the Liberty Arts room will be open.

The gym floor has been recently updated and is ready to be played on!

This will occur every Tuesday night from 6-8 p.m. at the St. Anthony's Community Center located on 114 Liberty St. in Batavia.

Everyone is welcome and food will be provided.

They are excited to welcome the community for a night of fun and friendship!

August 5, 2020 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, St. Anthony's, food distribution, COVID-19.

City Church hosted another in a series of free, drive-thru food distributions at St. Anthony's this morning.

Video by Mo Schoen at Pixel Pro Video.

July 8, 2020 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, St. Anthony's, batavia, news.

stanthonysfooddistributejuly92020.jpg

City Church hosted another in a series of food distributions at St. Anthony's today.

Ryan Macdonald said the church will announce more food distribution days soon.

stanthonysfooddistributejuly92020-2.jpg

stanthonysfooddistributejuly92020-3.jpg

stanthonysfooddistributejuly92020-4.jpg

June 28, 2020 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in Free food, food distribution, news, City Church, St. Anthony's.

The City Church is holding a drive-thru food distribution event at its St. Anthony’s site parking lot from 9 to 11 a.m. on the next two consecutive Wednesdays, July 1 and July 8.

Everyone is welcome!

St. Anthony's is located at 114 Liberty St. in the City of Batavia.

August 30, 2019 - 4:10pm

Press release:

Liberty Center for Youth, 114 Liberty St., is set to open to all youth ages 9-16 in the City of Batavia at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5th.

The Liberty Center for Youth (former St. Anthony’s school) is a joint agency project between the City of Batavia Youth Bureau, and the GLOW YMCA.

The focus of this project is to broaden the services offered to the youth of Batavia and have it conveniently located in one facility. The property is owned by City Church.

“Locating this facility in heart of the City, to serve our youth, is the right move,” said City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. “I believe that the enrollment for the City of Batavia Youth Bureau programs will continue to grow and this will be 'the place' where kids want to go.

"They will find a positive caring environment here lead by the City Youth Bureau.” 

The United Way of Genesee County has contributed $50,000 to the project and will be providing funding for an additional five years at $10,000 per year.

“The United Way is excited to partner with the City of Batavia and the GLOW YMCA to make this project a reality,” said Tammy Hathaway, regional director of the United Way of Genesee County.

“This project fits within our mission to motivate and organize people...through a unified, community-wide effort to mobilize resources and apply them to best serve the needs of Genesee County.”

The new location will offer a technology center with 10 new computers donated by Marchese Computer Products, 10 brand new tablets, and a smart board with wireless capabilities. The Liberty Center for Youth will provide free tutoring and homework assistance.

The facility will contain a game room with pool, air hockey, ping-pong, and foosball, as well as a four-square court and gaming room with a PS4 and Wii. 

The former cafeteria has undergone a major renovation turning it into a multipurpose room where students are encouraged to socialize, and grab a snack. A free snack will be provided daily to participants. The cafeteria will also be used for special events such as Art, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Music, and other activity nights.

This location also offers a gymnasium to allow for year-round sports activities.

“This has been a dream of ours for a while,” said Lydia Schauf, program coordinator City of Batavia Youth Bureau. “We have wanted to find a central location where we could make the most impact on the Youth of our City, we wanted a place where they could feel comfortable to socialize and be active but most of all to provide a safe environment.”

The City of Batavia Youth Bureau has prided itself in offering free, safe and fun activities to youth and is excited and encouraged by this new endeavor. The staff of the Youth Bureau is capable, trained and ready to see a very successful first year of programming at the new location.

“It has been an amazing journey of learning, problem solving and growing as we have developed this partnership over the last three years," said Jeff Townsend, executive director of GLOW YMCA.

"Working together as a non-profit and government entity has been way less challenging than first thought. I appreciate this opportunity in my career to see a vision come to life. And I’m thankful to have worked alongside Jocelyn Sikorski on this project.” 

The Liberty Center will be open year-round. Hours of operation are as follows 2:30-6 p.m. during school and 1-6 p.m. during school breaks and summer vacation. 

Registration is free and participation forms can be found at 114 Liberty St. or on the City of Batavia website under the Youth Bureau Department.

If there are any questions please call Lydia Schauf of the City Youth Bureau at (585) 815-5308. Transportation will be offered afterschool to the facility but must be arranged through the Batavia Central School District.

August 30, 2019 - 12:41pm
Video Sponsor
May 13, 2019 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in teen city, St. Anthony's, batavia, Youth Bureau, news, notify.

dsc_6765.jpg

The planned move of the Youth Bureau to St. Anthony's on Liberty Street, Batavia, is on schedule and the new program should open in time for the school year this fall, said Jocelyn Sikorski in an interview last week.

Sikorski is the director of both the city's and the county's Youth Bureau and the combined program will move from its current location at 12 MacArthur Drive, Batavia, this summer.

The Youth Bureau will go from a 1,800-square-foot building to more than 11,000 square feet of available space, and from a location practically on the outskirts of the City to one near the center of the city and closer to the underserved youth population on the Southside.

St. Anthony's has already become an important youth activity spot thanks to its owner, City Church, and the work of Ryan Macdonald, who leads youth and community activities on Tuesday nights.

Teen City will offer after-school programs to youths age 9 to 16, including a classroom/tech room, recreation room, gaming room, cafeteria, kitchen and full gymnasium during program hours, which are set at 2:30 to 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday during the school year, and 1 to 6 p.m. during the summer.

"There are a lot of youth on the Southside who want those services, who are utilizing those services with Ryan on Tuesday nights, so we’re going to meet the needs of the community as they are and serve those kids who may not be coming to the youth center because of its current location," Sikorski.

The move is expected to be completed in August.

Teen City is a joint project of the Youth Bureau, St. Anthonys's/City Church, the YMCA, and United Way.

"It’s worked out well," Macdonald said. "We love the kids. We think the kids, for the most part, love us. We’re looking for the whole community to be involved.

"We can’t do it on our own and that’s the key takeaway," Macdonald added. "The YMCA is going to be involved the Youth Bureau, the City and the County, United Way is going to be involved. I think that’s an important takeaway because not one entity can do it all on their own. If we work together at it we can get a whole lot more done."

With 100 kids showing up every Tuesday at St. Anthony's, Sikorski said there is ample evidence there is demand for a program like Teen City that is easier for more kids in the city to reach.

With the help of the school district, transportation will be provided to kids who might find St. Anthony's too far away to walk or bike to.

"The other positive is we're modeling the school's behavior and rules with what we’re developing so there will be consistency for these kids," Sikorski "They will know what their expectations are. It’s not going to be any different.

"This will be supervised and structured and it will be a safe place for those kids to go," she added.

The former Youth Bureau building will be taken over by City Schools. Superintendent Chris Dailey said near-term plans are for the high school to use the front parking lot and the building for storage during the ongoing capital improvement project.

The community garden behind the Youth Bureau building will be able to expand into the basketball court area.

Macdonald said he sees this as a positive move for what City Church offers at St. Anthony's and the children of the community.  The Tuesday night programs themselves are expensive to run and only survive because of the generous support of sponsors. Now the children of the area will have more options and more support.

"We’ve all needed somebody to speak into our lives, to love us, to care for us at certain points, and not to say the parents aren’t doing that but we want to add to it," Macdonald said.

dsc_6762-edit.jpg

The Batavia Youth Bureau moved to the former community pool location in 1998 after the City sold the Bank Street location, which housed the youth bureau and senior services, to the County, which took over the Senior Center at that time. Now it's moving to St. Anthony's.

May 8, 2019 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Anthony's, City Church, batavia, video.
Video Sponsor

Last night, I stopped by St. Anthony's with no intention of covering anything. All I had with me was my iPhone but when I walked in, dancers from Divine Dance Studio were just about to start performing and then I watched Ryan Macdonald talk about "doing what you can do to make a difference" before giving away a bike to Alex Baker, so here are two short videos.

Video Sponsor
December 19, 2018 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Anthony's, City Church, batavia, news, Christmas.

stanthonybikes42.jpg

City Church hosted its annual community Christmas party at St. Anthony's on Liberty Street, Batavia, last night, and gave away 33 bikes to children from the neighborhood.

They also handed out a ton of toys.

Numerous people donated bikes, toys, and money to the event, said Ryan Macdonald.

Photos by Mo Schoen.

stanthonybikes5.jpg

stanthonybikes6.jpg

stanthonybikes4.jpg

stanthonybikes18.jpgstanthonybikes8.jpg

stanthonybikes20.jpg

 

stanthonybikes1.jpg

October 3, 2018 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, news, St. Anthony's, batavia, City Church.

stanthonysgcedc.jpg

As part its workforce development mission, the Genesee Economic Development Center has been participating in Tuesday evening activities at St. Anthony's, run by City Church, by bringing in recruiters to help connect members of the community with job opportunities.

Last night, Remedy Staffing was on hand to let community members know they can help get job seekers interviews with local companies.

Chris Suozzi, VP of business development for GCEDC (top photo and playing basketball below), told the people gathered in the gym during a break in the basketball games that there are more than 1,000 jobs available in Genesee County, including jobs that pay $15 an hour or more and jobs that provide a career path for advancement.

"Whether you're looking for full-time or part-time work there are jobs you can get started on tomorrow," Suozzi said.

Ryan Macdonald, who supervises Tuesday night activities at St. Anthony's, reminded the crowd they asked for help with finding jobs which is why GCEDC and Remedy staffing were on hand.

Kathryn Kempisty, client partnership supervisor for Remedy, said it would only take 30 seconds of a person's time on Tuesday night and a 30-minute meeting sometime in the next week in order for Remedy to line up job interviews with local employers.

"If you don’t know what you’re looking for, we can let you know about the options," Kempisty said. "There is so much out there that we can’t wait to have you come into our office."

stanthonysgcedc-2.jpg

stanthonysgcedc-3.jpg

Kathryn Kempisty and Brittany Nadrowski, Remedy Staffing.

June 6, 2018 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Anthony's, batavia, news, notify.

stanthonystuesdayjune2018.jpg

On a Tuesday night, there is probably no place in Batavia with more positive energy flowing than St. Anthony's on Liberty Street.

The former Catholic Church property is now owned an operated by City Church and for more than a year, church leaders have been opening up the gym and community rooms for basketball, games, an art class, and dance lessons.

And everybody -- white, black, rich, poor, young, old -- is having a good time.

"We're just showing the love of Christ and reaching out in care and love," said Ryan Macdonald, who was running the events last night. 

Ryan is the son of Pastor Marty Macdonald of City Church.

When the doors open on Tuesday night, they're open to everybody, Macdonald said.

He's mindful of some of the issues faced by Southside residents, and some of the negative news about the community recently, including a recent murder on Central Avenue, just a block away, and he said that's why he and other volunteers are there.

"When you create a relationship with an open hand instead of a fist you can get a whole lot more done in a community," Macdonald said. "I think that we could all benefit from reaching out instead of demanding a certain set of rules, so that’s what we’re doing here."

At 7 p.m., all of the activities stop and everybody participating enters the gym for a short message and a prayer before food is served -- in this case, six giant sheet pizzas from Batavia's Original paid for by donations from local businesses.

After reading a Bible verse, MacDonald said, "Somebody asked me not long ago why do you do what you do on a Tuesday night. Here's my answer. The Lord said to those people who asked, 'we never fed you, we never clothed you, we never loved you.' He answered and said these similar words. 'When you did it for those other people, you did it for me.'

"That’s why we’re here tonight because I believe when I honor you, every person in this room, from the greatest among us to the least among us, when I’m honoring you, I honor God himself. That’s why I’m here tonight."

At that point, everybody in the room applauded.

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-2.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-3.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-4.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-5.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-6.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-7.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-8.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-9.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-10.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-11.jpg

stanthonystuesdayjune2018-12.jpg

August 4, 2016 - 7:12pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, City Church, St. Anthony's.

picnic_in_the_parking_lot.jpg

The parking lot at Liberty Street and Central Avenue, part of the rich tradition of Batavia's Southside community, experienced a "revival," of sorts, early Thursday night when a couple hundred people enjoyed free food and entertainment courtesy of the congregation at City Church.

"We're spreading the love to this side of town," said Pauly Lamendola, of Le Roy, a regular attendee of City Church, the Main Street evangelical house of worship that recently purchased the former St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church from the Diocese of Buffalo.

According to the Rev. Marty Macdonald, pastor of City Church, "The Picnic in the Parking Lot" was organized as a kick-off to future events and services at both the church and community center.

"It's all about lifting people up and bringing some hope," Macdonald said. "We're focused on building relationships and friendships and sharing God's love."

Macdonald said the church has big plans for the property, which is need of much work.

"We haven't pinpointed anything (specific) yet, but we've already put on a brand-new roof and new electric service, and we're working on the heating, we're painting and cleaning it up," he said.

He added that the pews, stained glass and pipework of St. Anthony's Church will remain intact as he and his staff prepare to launch a weekly service either on Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon.

Several of about 30 volunteers from City Church, some wearing orange T-shirts and others wearing blue T-shirts, served hot dogs, hamburgs, french fries, ice cream and brownies, while Paul Berardini of Big Pauly's Pizza cooked his sheet pizzas on ovens in the former St. Anthony's School basement.

"Pastor Marty called me and asked me to help out and I said, 'Sure,' " Berardini said. "After all, I went to elementary school here, and it's close to home as I grew up on Wood Street. This place is a big part of the Southside; the church was a staple for us."

Those in attendance tonight were entertained by the Divine dance troupe and the City Church praise band led by Macdonald's son, Garrett.

Some came for the food, some to relive their time spent at the St. Anthony's Lawn Fete, and others -- such as Dawn Orlando, of Wood Street -- because they just happened to be walking by and were invited to partake.

For all the reasons, 13-year-old Paige Vinyard, of Perry, who attends City Church with her family, may have said it best:

"We thought it would be a good idea to support our church," she said. "I think it's wonderful that they're doing this -- showing how much they love the community and showing people the love of God."

Picnic sponsors included R.J. Nicometo Electric, Attica Carquest Auto & Ace Hardware, Country Cottage, Craig's Mowing & Landscaping, Crazy Cheap Cars, Divine Dance Studio, Wortzman Furniture, Jeremy & Tina Northup, Max Pies Furniture, Oakfield Fitness, Big Pauly's Pizza, Rick Caton, Terance Cranston Construction, Vinyl Sticks, Weekly Rooms LLC, Southside Deli and Batavia Cross-training.

Top photo: A couple hundred folks came out on a hot and humid Thursday night to attend The Picnic in the Parking Lot at St. Anthony's Church, which is now part of the ministry of City Church.

divine_dance_troupe.jpg

The church's Divine dance troupe and praise band entertain the picnic-goers.

praise_band.jpg

pauly_helps_the_cause.jpg

Paul Berardini and Jessica Rae of Big Pauly's Pizza supported the cause by donating sheet pizzas, made with Pauly's own recipe in the St. Anthony's basement ovens.

August 3, 2016 - 6:08am
posted by Billie Owens in City Church, St. Anthony's, batavia, news.

Everyone is invited to City Church's first big event at its new property "St. Anthony's -- A City Church" for "The Picnic in the Parking Lot" starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4.

It's located at 122 Liberty St. in Batavia. There will be food, live music, kids' activities and more.

"We've really pulled out all the stops on this one," says Pastor Marty Macdonald in a Facebook message about the event. "I'm excited about it, about the people who will be here, the music. ... We have enough food to feed half the city...Let's get to know one another."

In another mesaage, aimed at dispelling "myths" that apparently have sprung up about City Church's plans for St. Anthony, the pastor says the beautiful, historic wooden pews inside the sanctuary are staying put, so too are the finely crafted stained-glass windows, which add "architectural splendor" to the whole place. And the existing church on Main Street Downtown will remain open. A third City Church Sunday service, to be held at St. Anthony's, will be added at some point, time to be announced.

City Church closed escrow on the former Roman Catholic parish and school this spring.

January 13, 2013 - 9:18pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in batavia, St. Anthony's.

Parking was at a premuim near the corner of Libery Street and Central Avenue this morning as hundreds of Catholics filled St. Anthony's Church for the closing Mass of Thanksgiving. Bishop Richard Malone of the Buffalo Diocese presided over the last mass at the proud Italian parish.

Since 1908, St. Anthony's has served many on the Southside of the city. Today, some parishoners said they felt like they were attending a funeral. Many with tears in their eyes, and some even dressed in black. Ann Valerych has been going to St. Anthony's for 84 years. "This is more of a funeral Mass. It's the end of St. Anthony's and it didn't have to be."

In 2008, St. Anthony's was merged with Sacred Heart to become Ascension Parish. This was part of the Buffalo Diocese's Journey in Faith and Grace program. In September, the Ascension Parish Council recommended that St. Anthony's close its doors Jan. 1, 2013, because of the financial difficulties operating both churches.

The only bright spot of the Mass was one last baptismal. Daniel Fix and Gretchen Gautieri and Godparents Aaron and Kristen Fix brought Sadie Lynn Fix to the alter before the Bishop and the congregation to instill a feeling of a new beginning and celebrate a new life in the church. Gretchen and her family are long-time members at the parish.

"We still have a church to go to, even though it's not this one," Gretchen said. "It's still a sense of community and we will be able to pray together no matter where we are." 

In his homily, Bishop Malone expressed his understanding of people's feelings of anger and sadness over the closing. Malone says there are many Catholics across the Northeast experiencing the same things as you are here. He told parishoners, "We do this as a people who are strong in faith, who have profound hope that Christ leads us forward and to be able to have a kind love in our hearts to overcome the wounds. It's time for a real act of trust."

Paula Fischer says she has tried to fit in with folks at Sacred Heart but has had enough politics. She says it's bittersweet and she won't be staying with Ascension Parish/Sacred Heart.

"I don't feel that sense of community. The meshing of the two parishes never happened and I don't feel welcome." Fischer says. "The Catholic Church in America today, I don't like the path it is going. I have a strong faith, I will always be Roman Catholic. I will find another place to worship."  

The Buffalo Diocese has not said what its plans are for the church or any of the buildings on the property.

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button

News Break