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St. Christopher

2660 Niagara Falls Blvd, Tonawanda, NY 14150

Mass Schedule:

  • Saturday Vigil Mass: 4:00 p.m.

  • Sunday: 8:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.

  • Monday-Friday: 7:00 a.m.

  • Holy Day: 7:00 a.m. & 12:00 p.m.

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Our History

1928-2012

St. Christopher Parish began in May 1928 as a Mission of St. John de La Salle Parish in Niagara Falls. During the first year, Masses were held in a tent while the church - designed for 182 people - was built.

 

On July 2, 1935, Bishop William Turner, recognizing the growth of the Mission, changed its status to a parish and appointed Fr. Bertram Trautman as the first pastor. In 1940, Fr. Trautman built the rectory.

 

On February 27, 1944, Monsignor William Solleder was appointed pastor of the rapidly expanding community. During his twenty year tenure, the church was expanded and the parish school built.

 

When Msgr. Solleder retired in 1964, Msgr. James McCarthy became the administrator until Monsignor Robert C. Schwab assumed the role of pastor in 1967. It was during this time that many of the changes resulting from Vatican II were implemented into parish life and worship.

 

In December 1985, Monsignor Francis G. Weldgen was appointed pastor and the parish began a new period of growth. The Parish Council was recreated in November 1986 spurring development of numerous organizations and committees. In the Spring of 1988, a committee was organized to consider renovation and expansion of the church.

 

Then, on Monday September 26, 1988, the church was consumed by a fire. The next evening, the Parish Council, Parish Management Committee and the Renovation Committee met in a joint session to chart a course of action. The result was a four year process which led to construction of the new church and conversion of the old church into a parish center and parish offices. This was all accomplished without incurring debt.

 

While this change in the physical campus was extraordinary, it becomes secondary when compared to the change in the people of St. Christopher. By their active involvement in the process, the parishioners came to understand that the word "Church" really means "People of God" not the building. We learned that when we built a new "church", we accomplished much more than the construction of a worship space, we built a new community.

 

In July 2006, Fr. Fran retired and Fr. Charles E. Slisz was appointed pastor. He provided the leadership that guided us through a successful merger with St. Edmund Parish in September 2007.

 

In April 2015, Fr. Chuck retired. In June 2015, Father Steve Jekielek became Pastor of St. Christopher Parish & School.



Fr. Steve accepted a new assignment as the pastor of Our Lady of Charity in South Buffalo. His last day at St. Christopher was April 11, 2021. Fr. Michael Brown was appointed pastor and assumed duties on June 30, 2021. 

On July 1st, 2023 St. Christopher became part of the Roman Catholic Community of the Tonawandas under the leadership of it's new Pastor Fr. Michael LaMarca.

Our Patron Saint

According to these accounts, St. Christopher was extremely tall, and by some accounts he was even a giant! He was surely a man of significant physical stature. But, more importantly, he was a spiritual giant and a sure model and inspiration for the Christian faithful.

 

Christopher decided one day that he wanted to serve the greatest king he could. He presented himself before his local ruler and entered service, until he noticed the king cross himself at the mention of the devil, revealing that the king believed the Devil to have more power.

 

St. Christopher then decided to serve the Devil. During his search, he encountered a band of thieves, whose leader referred to himself as the Devil. But when this leader avoided a Christian cross out of fear, St. Christopher learned there was someone even more powerful than the Devil.

St. Christopher found a hermit who taught him all about Christ, the King of Kings. The hermit suggested that he spend his life in prayer and fasting, a thing which St. Christopher, a large and probably often hungry man found difficult, he objected. The hermit suggested he then find something else that would please Christ. St. Christopher offered to work at a nearby river, and help travelers across. The fording was dangerous and many with less strength people had drowned. The hermit advised St. Christopher this would please Christ.

One day, a child approached St. Christopher by the river and asked to be helped across. St. Christopher obliged. However, as he entered midstream, the river rose and the child's weight grew and became extremely heavy. It was only by great exertion that St. Christopher safely delivered the child to the other side.

When St. Christopher asked the child why he was so heavy, the child explained that He was the Christ and when St. Christopher carried Him, he also carried the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. The child then vanished.

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