You may never have seen Holy Cross Church, tucked away on the western edge of the city of Buffalo, off Niagara Street. And you may be surprised to learn it was once the largest parish in the Diocese, in 1939, with 3,700 families and 18,000 parishioners. Before urban renewal, Buffalo’s lower west side was once the most densely settled places in the state outside New York City. And before changes in transportation, it was once directly connected to one of the most bustling waterfronts on the Great Lakes.
Now, Holy Cross serves a community that is economically depressed, cut off from its waterfront, and suffering the ravages of blight and disinvestment. Like its surrounding neighborhood, Holy Cross struggles with financial challenges, yet remains vibrant and vital. Now under the wing of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, along with two sister parishes on the west side, Holy Angels is a bilingual parish, with Sunday Masses in both English and Spanish. Once a month, there is even a Mass in French.
For over half its history, Holy Cross Church was under the leadership of Father Gambino, appointed priest before the church was constructed in 1915. In 1960, it was the scene of one of the most tragic events in the modern history of the Buffalo Diocese, the murder of Father Belle, who is remembered in the name of the adjacent Father Belle Center.
In 2005, Allentown’s Immaculate Conception parish merged with Holy Cross, and the beautiful Immaculate Conception window was moved to Holy Cross, where it is on display in the sanctuary.
Today, Holy Cross continues to serve the Italian-American community, but also people with roots in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America, Asia and Africa. Father Quilin Bouzi, O.M.I., is pastor.
Holy Cross Church
345 7th St, Buffalo, NY 14201
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HC is a parish with roots in the past and charts a successful path to a multicultural future.
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