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"One Night, Seven Churches" welcomes visitors on spiritual, cultural tour

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

While churches throughout Western New York will host Holy Thursday services and remain open for continued quiet prayer, seven in Buffalo's Polish heritage neighborhoods will welcome visitors to take in both a spiritual and cultural experience.

What is known as "One Night and Seven Churches" will allow participants to take self-guided tours of churches with ties to Buffalo's Polish heritage. Five of the churches (Corpus Christi, St. Stanislaus, St. John Kanty, St. Adalbert and St. Luke) are located on the city's East Side, while the other two (St. Bernard and St. Casimir) are located in Buffalo's Kaisertown neighborhood.

Promoting the tour is Broadway Fillmore Alive, which advocates online for Buffalo's East Side Polonian heritage.

"It's an opportunity for people to come spend some time in prayer but also experience these beautiful churches we have in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood," said Broadway Fillmore Alive's Christopher Byrd.

Many of the churches are more than a century old. Decorated for the Easter holiday, Byrd says what tourists have an opportunity to witness are the gifts left behind by immigrants from a bygone era.

"The immigrants that came and built these churches throughout Buffalo, not only Polish Americans but also Italian Americans, Irish Americans, they poured their heart and soul into these churches," Byrd said. "Very humble people, a lot of times poor, and they took pride in bringing their culture here, as it associated with how they worshipped as a Catholic from the countries they came from. This is really a labor of love, these churches."

Father Micha? Czy?ewski, who became the Administrator at Corpus Christi Church last May, was looking forward to his first Easter Triduum as the host of one of the tour's stops.

"To be honest, a little excited," Father Czy?ewski said. "So many people like to see the church, or some of them like to pray, light the candles, or just see the beauty of this place. "This is also a good moment to pray for the priests, pray for the annual vocation to priesthood and religious life, especially for the Diocese of Buffalo."

Byrd and Father Czy?ewski both reminded tourists that the churches will be hosting quiet prayer upon the conclusion of Holy Thursday services and asked visitors to remain respectful.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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