In the beginning, two Felician sisters commuted from St. John Cantius Parish to teach the children of St. Andrew. In 1916, a school was opened on the second floor of the church building with two classrooms. Another classroom housed the Felician sisters until 1920. As the school enrollment increased from 30 to 108 children, Fr. Kaluzny purchased a wooden house at 175 Crocker Street to serve as a temporary convent until the building of the permanent brick convent in 1925.
On September 11, 1926, Fr. Kaluzny was transferred as Pastor to St. Adalbert’s Basilica in Buffalo. His successor was Rev. Constantine Sliszewski until August 30, 1934 when the Bishop appointed Rev. Joseph Czerwinski as the new pastor. On September 17, 1944 a fire broke out and ruined the inside of the church. Fr. Czerwinski died on November 15, 1949. Rev. William Wozniak was appointed pastor on February 19, 1950. The Village of Sloan expanded rapidly following World War II. Fr. Wozniak saw the tremendous need for the construction of a new church and organized a building committee on October 12, 1952 for the purpose of gathering funds for the new church. However, on February 1, 1953, he was appointed Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese by the Bishop.
The Rev. John Glazik was appointed the new pastor and remained until the Fall of 1961. In April of 1955, a large-scale pledge campaign was underway with ground breaking for the new church taking place on May 27, 1955 by the Rev. Msgr. Joseph Glapinski, V.G. The new church became a reality on May 27, 1956 when the Most Rev. Joseph A. Burke dedicated and blessed the new church. The first religious service was the Midnight Mass of 1956.
As the church community was growing in numbers, so too was school enrollment. Fr. Glazik, realizing the overcrowded conditions in the school building announced plans for the construction of a new school building on March 13, 1959. Ground was broken on April 24, 1961. Fr. Glazik was appointed Pastor of St. Augustine in Depew on September 1, 1961 and his successor was Fr. Ladislaus Malinski. It was during his pastorate that the new school building was completed. The Most Rev. James McNulty blessed and dedicated the building on May 31, 1964. In the Fall of 1965, Fr. Malinski proceeded to remodel the old school building. In its prime, it served as a catechetical center with meeting rooms and space for parish social gatherings. Construction of the new rectory was to begin in Spring of 1966.
Records showed that in 1915 St. Andrew Church was comprised of 69 families and increased substantially in its first fifty years with 996 families registered in 1965.
With the death of Fr. Malinski, Rev. Henry J. Stachewicz was appointed Pastor on July 6, 1969. With his enthusiasm and vigor, Fr. Stachewicz furthered the splendid work of the previous pastors. The rectory building was completed in 1971 and the much needed work at the convent began. All necessary improvements and repairs were made to the chapel, convent, the old school building, and the new school. The statues of St. Joseph and St. Andrew were purchased in 1972 through generous donations of the parishioners.
The 1970s proved to be a very busy decade. Parish societies celebrated milestone anniversaries with Masses of Thanksgiving. On November 14, 1971, the Holy Name Society celebrated its 25th anniversary; on May 28, 1972, the Mothers’ Club celebrated its 40th anniversary; and in May 1975, St. Vincent de Paul celebrated its 25th anniversary.
In March of 1973, the Diocese of Buffalo welcomed a new shepherd with the installation of the Most Rev. Edward D. Head as the new Bishop. In this same month, carillon bells were installed in the St. Andrew church tower, ringing out traditional and seasonal hymns, much to the delight of the parishioners. The restoration of the permanent deaconate program of formation brought a response from our parishioner, Roberto Miranda and he was accepted into the program in October 1975.
One of the banner years at St. Andrew Church was 1977. In August the mortgage was paid in full. Arrangements were made to have October 25th as a Eucharistic Day, with a Mass of Thanksgiving in the evening, celebrated by the Most Rev. Bishop Edward D. Head, with a reception to follow. On October 30th, a mortgage-burning celebration took place at a banquet at the Hearthstone Manor (now, Grapevine).
The year of 1978 was a year of many happenings. On May 14, 1978, Roberto Miranda was ordained permanent Deacon at St. Joseph’s Cathedral and on May 28th, the community of St. Andrew honored Deacon Miranda with the celebration of Mass and a reception afterwards. In addition, St. Andrew received the services of Daniel A. Lapinski, seminarian, until his ordination in 1979. On October 1, 1978, the pilgrimage statue of Our Lady of Fatima arrived at St. Andrew Church and remained in the church for a week; henceforth transferred to parishioners’ homes.
In 1980, through the once again generous donations of the parishioners, the statue of St. Jude was purchased and blessed on June 14, 1980. Blessings continued with the priestly ordination of Deacon Sidney McAdams; he celebrated his first solemn Mass at St. Andrew on July 13, 1980. On December 14, thirteen Eucharistic Ministers were installed by Bishop Head in St. Joseph’s Cathedral and in St. Andrew Church on December 20 and 21.
On March, 1981, Fr. Stachewicz was recognized for 33 years in the priesthood by our Holy Father and our Bishop. He received the Prelate of Honor Award with the title of Rev. Msgr. Henry J. Stachewicz. On May 30, Msgr. Stachewicz was honored on the occasion of 35 years in the priesthood.
On June 13, 1982, the Mothers’ Club celebrated its 50th anniversary. Also in summer of 1982, all roofs on all the parish buildings were being repaired. Continuing into 1983, music was greatly enhanced by the acquisition of a new organ, once again subsidized by the generous contributions of the parishioners. As of 1984, there were 1084 families registered. In May 1986, the diamond jubilee account was opened and phases of restoration and repair announced. In 1988, the work continued; the parish was well along with its renovation schedule for the jubilee year. Msgr. Stachewicz observed his 21st anniversary at St. Andrew on July 6, 1988. In 1989, major work inside and outside the parish began in anticipation of the long awaited Diamond Jubilee Year 1990. There were 1050 families registered as of 1989.
The Diamond Jubilee year included a Jubilee Thanksgiving Mass on April 29, 1990 with Most Rev. Bishop Edward D. Head as the principal celebrant. The Sacrament of Confirmation was conferred on May 27 by the Most Rev. Auxiliary Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima returned to our parish and a living rosary was rendered on May 31. A Youth Mass was celebrated on June 10 with the Rev. Gary Bagley as guest homilist. A shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help was ordered by Msgr. Stachewicz for the church proper and was blessed by Most Rev. Edward Grosz on June 13, 1990.
The Diamond Jubilee Banquet took place on October 21, 1990 at the Hearthstone Manor (now, Grapevine). Approximately 400 clergy, religious, parishioners and friends of St. Andrew Church gathered to break bread and relive some of the precious moments that this jubilee brought to mind.
1991 to The Present
The year 1991 was ushered in with Rev. Richard H. Malicki serving as pastor for one year. Our Heavenly Father, in his infinite wisdom, called Rev. Malicki home at that time. His unfortunately brief tenure with us was followed by 12 years (1992-2004) of priestly service by Rev. Robert D. Moss. The next 12 years (2004-2015) of the 100 year history of St. Andrew Church were under the leadership of Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski. From 2010 to 2014, under his pastorship an intensive pledge campaign was successfully implemented to accomplish the much-needed renovation of St. Andrew Church. The goal of $300,000 was far exceeded due to the generosity and loyalty of this community. A complete overhaul including new roof, restoration of brick work, carpeting, ceiling repair, and entire paint make over, in addition to necessary repairs, was a delight for all of the parishioners. This paved the way for our Centennial Anniversary year, 2015.
On the Feast of St. Andrew, November 30, 2014, the building formerly known as Building #1, was rededicated as the “Father Fabian J. Maryanski Center.”
With the retirement of Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski in January, 2015, Bishop Richard J. Malone appointed Deacon David E. Clabeaux as Pastoral Administrator of St. Andrew Church with Rev. Thomas Quinlivan, followed by Rev. James Cunningham as Priest Moderator. Subsequently, with Deacon Dave continuing as Pastoral Administrator, Rev. James C. O’Connor was appointed Sacramental Minister.
Throughout the 100 years of St. Andrew Church, many organizations and societies were involved in parish activities. The backbone of St. Andrew Church has long been the Holy Name Society. The Society was very active in many activities including the parish lawn fetes on the church grounds and previously at Woodrow Wilson. These activities were and are made possible through the devoted past presidents including Daniel Smolarek, Richard Bukowski, Don O’Neill, Leonard Nowak, and Stan Bosinski. Currently, the Society helps in parish processions, is active in hosting district meetings, and on an annual basis has been host to the Diocesan Convention. The Holy Name Society meets monthly to discuss the needs of the parish and the membership providing support in all religious activities. Fr. Paul Sabo was named Spiritual Moderator of the Diocesan Union of Holy Name Societies and Gene Karp is the secretary. St. Andrew Holy Name Society is currently coordinated by President Gene Karp and Vice President Nobert Czosek.
Another active parish society for years has been the St. Vincent de Paul Society whose primary purpose is to provide assistance to the needy. Throughout the years the Society has given to people in need, including monetary donations and food vouchers. They have made available medical supplies such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and bathroom needs as well. For many years the St. Vincent de Paul members alternated taking turns driving to the Erie County Infirmary twice a month to distribute cookies, candy, socks and, at times, razors. At Thanksgiving the Society distributes up to six full baskets to each family in need, and at Christmas time, turkeys are collected for distribution. These activities have been possible through the generous donations in the Poor Box in church. Another source of income has been the Thanksgiving Day Mass for present and past members, through the envelope collection.
Other societies also include the Legion of Mary, the Rosary Society, and Divine Mercy Cenacle. The mission of the Legion of Mary is to glorify God through the holiness of its members, developed by prayer and active cooperation in Mary’s as well as the Church’s work. The purpose of the Rosary Society is devotion to the Blessed Mother, Mary; praying the Rosary together at monthly meetings; providing spiritual help and support for one another, social activities for the women of the Rosary and also the parish family. The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us – all of us. And, He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. As Pope Francis has declared the upcoming liturgical year as a Holy Year of Mercy, the year will be especially relevant to the ongoing mission of this organization.
In 2010 a Prayer Shawl Ministry was initiated. Shawls have been made for centuries and are universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter, and beautify. Compassion and the love of knitting/crocheting have been combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice which reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy. Many blessings are prayed into every stitch. Those making the shawls and blankets often comment that they “have never prayed as much or as often, as when they work on their shawl or blankets. The prayer shawls are given to those who are ill or undergoing a difficult time. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles. Blankets with baby beanies and booties are given to new born babies along with a beautiful family prayer card.
Over the years, six parishioners of St. Andrew answered the call to the priesthood or religious life. These include Rev. Sidney McAdams, OFM Conv.; Rev. Joachim A. Giermek, OFM Conv.; Rev. Ronald Sajdak, Rev. Francis Kasprzak; Sr. M. Andriette Piasecki, CSSF; and Sr. M. Franceline Lawniczak, CSSF.
A graduate of St. Andrew School (1950s) Rev. Giermek became the 118th successor to Francis of Assisi when he was elected as Minister General of the International Order of Conventual Franciscan Friars in 2001. He served in that position until 2007. The Conventual Franciscan Friars, who follow the rule of St. Francis of Assisi, had 5,400 members worldwide at that time. He is the second Buffalo-area religious figure to be elected to head a religious order.
Many changes were in store for St. Andrew Church and School. With the declining enrollment of children in the school, the new School Building was forced to close in 2003 with 116 children enrolled. The School Building, however, has since housed new occupants. In 2008, the Erie County Law Enforcement Training Academy started using the School Building for training purposes. In 2009, brothers Charles and Samuel Lambert opened the STARCC (St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church) Raving Mad House, a haunted house for all ages, which continues to grow larger each year.
In 2010, The Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo began using the St. Andrew School Building for their after-school programs. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo have been in the forefront of youth development, working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social, and family circumstances. They have actively sought to enrich the lives of girls and boys whom other youth agencies failed to reach and they are dedicated to ensuring that our community's disadvantaged youngsters have greater access to quality programs and services that will enhance their lives and shape their futures.
Now, in 2015 there are 630 families registered who make up St. Andrew Church.
In its 100 years, St. Andrew Church has been blessed with 122 clergy and religious (deceased and living) who answered God’s Call –
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ ‘Here I am,’ I said; ‘send me!’” --- Isaiah 6:8
Many events were planned through the course of the year in celebrating the centennial anniversary. They included a Memorial Mass for Deceased members of St. Andrew Church; Evening of Reflection #1: “More than Bricks and Mortar – St. Andrew Church during the Past 100 Years”; Meat Raffle & Mini Theme Basket Raffle; Polka Mass & Chicken Dinner; Holy Name Bison’s Game; Summer Mass and Picnic; Evening of Reflection #2: “Walking With Jesus at St. Andrew Church Today”; Car Wash, Hot Dogs, and Paper Shredding with Youth Group; Mass & Light Reception Honoring Clergy & Religious of St. Andrew Church, Living and Deceased; Evening of Reflection #3: “Going Where the Spirit Calls Us – St. Andrew Church in the Future”; Theme Basket and Grand Raffle; Folk Mass Reunion; Coffee Social in Honor of the Feast of St. Andrew; Advent Evening of Reflection: “Looking Back at 100 Advents for the Best Christmas Ever”; and closing the centennial year with An Evening with the Cheektowaga Symphony.
Our Centennial Mass with Bishop Richard Malone took place on Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM, followed by dinner at the Millennium Hotel Restaurant on Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga. Nearly 300 clergy, religious, parishioners, and friends of St. Andrew Church gathered to break bread and relive again some of the precious moments that this centennial anniversary brought to mind.
Beyond doubt, St. Andrew Church has lived up to that early promise – Passing the Spirit from Age to Age. The roots of St. Andrew stand firmly in the past upholding fellowship with a unifying spirit and always keeping its eye on the future. Under the able and inspiring direction of its pastors, St. Andrew Church grew steadily, supported by the zeal and financial aid of its parishioners. Even today, it is still in the process of growth, serving all as brothers and sisters and, in doing so, serving Jesus Christ himself.
With prayerful hearts we ask God’s blessings upon the parishioners of this parish, with a wish and hope that future years will be as Spirit-filled and successful in glorifying God and advancing His kingdom as the past century.
The First 50 Years - 1915 to 1965
The history of St. Andrew Church is one of courage, prayer, stamina and dedication. It all began in the year 1915.
After the turn of the century, many Catholics had decided to leave the City of Buffalo and move into the suburbs. Among these were a good number of parishioners from St. John Cantius (now, Kanty’s), who decided to settle in the Village of Sloan area. They soon discovered that to worship God as a community, they would have to travel quite a distance by streetcar or on foot in all kinds of weather. His Excellency, The Most Rev. Charles Colton, Bishop of Buffalo, recognized their plight and directed Rev. Andrew Garstka, Pastor of St. John Cantius to start a new parish for Catholics in the Village of Sloan. On February 14, 1915, Rev. Garstka celebrated the first Mass in rented quarters at the Protestant Congregational Church on Halstead Ave, near the Village Hall.
On April 5, 1915, Bishop Colton appointed Rev. Francis Kaluzny as first Pastor of St. Andrew Church. Father Kaluzny lost no time in purchasing land for a permanent church area encompassed by Gierlach, Crocker, Francis and Franklin Streets. The cornerstone of the first church building was laid on October 3, 1915 by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nelson H. Baker, V.G. The two-story building was to be a combination church, school, parish hall and temporary convent with a separate rectory. On March 26, 1916, the first solemn high Mass was celebrated by the founder, Rev. Andrew Garstka, with the blessing of the Stations of the Cross by The Rev. Justin Figas, Provincial of the Franciscan Friars. The church at that time listed 69 families.