Welcome to St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. Tour our church home and experience our most prized artifacts!
Upon arriving at our Church, one is greeted with beautiful marble benches and bricks engraved with names in memory of our supportive families and friends.
Inside the gathering space, we are greeted by the image of St. Martin de Porres and the Parish Mission Statement: “Inspired by the missionary zeal and example of St. Martin de Porres, we are prompted by the working of the Spirit and empowered by baptism.”
As we prepare to enter the Church our eyes gaze upwards to behold an Ethiopian Canvas Painting by Nagred Gediy—"Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem”. This oil on canvas painting was a gift from Byzantine Rite Priest Fr. Joseph Bertha. The Aramaic text of Matthew 21.9 is written on the bottom left: “The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’”. The Aramaic text also notes the action of the man at the lower right: “He threw his cloak,” and also the man up in the tree, who is identified as Zacchaeus.
Perhaps the most powerful image within the Church greets us when we enter through the gathering space doors. The contemporary stained-glass window was a gift from the Huefner & Hiemenz families. It contains symbols from the life of St. Martin de Porres. Can you identify them all?
Book & Bell: Martin loved children and opened an orphanage for them. How blessed we are that our Church is built on the play field of the former Roman Catholic German Orphanage of Buffalo.
“M” in Blue Field: Martin was devoted to Mary, mother of Jesus, mother of God.
Red Flame & Yellow Snake: Martin was of mixed race. His mother was a freed African slave woman of Peru, South America. His father was a nobleman from Spain. Martin endured many insults during his time for his mixed-race ancestry.
Barber Shears and Scalpel: Martin was skilled as a barber. In his day, barbers were also skilled surgeons. In fact, Martin is the Patron Saint of barbers and beauticians.
Tau Cross & Yellow Snake (Greek letter “T” hidden behind the wooden Crucifix): Symbolic of the symbol for the medical profession. Martin was known for the healings that God worked through his prayer and herbal medicines.
Broom: The broom is the symbol of the lay brother. The priests of the Priory performed Sacraments and preached. The lay brothers often did the manual labor in the Priory.
The box frame for the Crucifix was made in Buffalo, New York. The Afrocentric Corpus of this image is made of wood, hand-carved in Chicago, Illinois. “We adore you, Oh Christ, and we praise you. Because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.”
The Main Altar came from the former St. Monica Catholic Church from the First Ward in Buffalo, NY.
The Black Wooden Gospel Book Throne was carved in Ghana, Africa. This piece is traditionally for the village chief to sit upon when rendering a judgement. A distinct feature is the “infinity” symbol carved into its base. A metal book stand is mounted above it to hold the Book of Gospels.
Hammond B-3 Organ came from the former Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Buffalo, NY.
Blue Choir Chairs came from the former St. Boniface Catholic Church, Buffalo, NY.
Boston Baby Grand Piano was presented as a gift to our church from Fr. Louis Dolinic
Main Celebrant Chair came from the former St. Joseph New Cathedral in Buffalo, NY.
Church Pews came from St. Stephen Catholic Church, Grand Island, NY.
The wood carved “Statue of St. Martin de Porres” is in the Baptismal area. Unlike other images of Martin, this one has him holding a Baptismal shell.
The Running Water of the Baptismal Font helps us to remember that it is only when we die and rise with Christ Jesus in Baptism that we are welcomed into the Kingdom of God and made Children of God.
Stained glass windows from the former St. Nicholas Catholic Church building, which later became the home of the former St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church, in Buffalo, NY.
The Fourteen Images of the Stations of the Cross surround our Church. These hand-carved olive wood images help us to get in touch with the sacrifice of Jesus for each of us. They were a gift to our Church from the Williamsville Franciscan Sisters. They were formerly in the chapel of their home located on Mill Street in Williamsville, NY. Mr. Joseph Bugman, a parishioner at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, refinished the images for our Church.
Entering the Chapel, one is immediately aware of the beautiful Wood Carved Altar, which was used at the historical 10th Black Catholic Congress held in Buffalo in July 2007, and later donated by the Sisters of Mary Namur. In the center of the Altar lies a six-inch square marble altar stone from the Marian Altar of the former St. Matthew Church in Buffalo, NY. The Altar, Ambo, and Credence Table were all refinished by St. Martin de Porres parishioner Joseph Bugman.
Looking to the right, one is greeted by the “Last Supper”. This gift from the community of St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Orchard Park, NY, was composed by an artist in Tanzania, Africa. Originally, this vivid work of art was the property of an anonymous woman of God, who gave it as a present to an artist residing in Hamburg, NY, who then presented it to Fr. Ronald Sajdak, who was then an Associate Pastor at St. Bernadette’s and who later became the second Permanent Pastor at our Church. It then was presented as a gift from the Orchard Park community to our Church at the dedication of our new Church in the Jubilee Year of 2000.
The gold and red globed Sanctuary Lamp is from the former Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. The Candle is always lit within the sanctuary lamp to indicate that the “real presence” of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is preserved within the Tabernacle of the Chapel.
In the metal window frame, behind the Sanctuary Lamp, one beholds the beautiful “Keys of St. Peter” Window. The round painted glass window comes from the first stone Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Tacoma Park, Maryland. It was a gift to Fr. Sajdak who, as a gift from his family, had it installed within the space between the Chapel and our Church.
As one looks behind the Chapel’s Altar, one will see a stunning classic painting titled “Jesus Being Taken Down from the Cross”. This piece painted by Providence, Rhode Island artist Ron Dabelle, features the image of St. Martin de Porres first Pastor, Fr. Roderick Brown, OP. Can you recognize the Dominican Friar in the painting?
The statues of “St. Joseph with Jesus” and “Mary Full of Grace”, along with the Crucifix located in the Chapel, all came from the former St. Boniface Catholic Church on Mulberry Street in Buffalo, NY.
St. Boniface, St. Matthew’s, Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Benedict the Moor were the four churches that closed to form St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in March of 1993.
Along the outer wall of the Chapel stands the Tabernacle, which comes from the word meaning “tent”. The Tabernacle is the secure container for the Holy Communion Hosts, which were left from the previous Eucharistic Celebrations and are shared with the sick of the parish throughout the week. This Tabernacle, which came from the St. Matthew’s Church, rests on a stand made from what was the Baptismal Font from St. Boniface Church. This beautiful piece is adorned with symbols of the Holy Spirit and a peacock bird, which is a symbol of immortality or everlasting life that one is called to share through baptism. The top and bowl of the font has been removed and is now crowned with a piece of granite stone.
Flanking each side of the Tabernacle with seven images on the right and left are images of “Stations of the Cross”. This set was purchased for our Church and was a gift from the Sisters of St. Joseph here in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.
Finally, on the way out of the Chapel, one will see the beautiful image of Mary: Vierge Africaine —African Virgin”. The original oil painting resides in France. This reproduction was purchased and mounted as a gift from Roland Autry in honor of his mother, Mrs. Beulah Levon Autry.
Sacraments are an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.
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