Yesterday I attended my first Buffalo Mass Mob event, which was held at Kaisertown’ s St. Casimir Church located at 160 Cable Street. St. Casimir is a prevalent part of Kaisertown’s past and while it’s not on the main strip of Clinton St, it sits prominently in the heart of Kaisertown. Founded in 1890, the church is stunning, inside and out. It was also a visited place of Pope John Paul II, prior to him becoming Pope. The room that he slept in during his visit in 1976 is now kept in a museum-like state and can be visited.
While there is certainly value to the architectural beauty of St Casimir, there was more to the mass mob than just a viewing of a historic gem. The church was packed and just like so many other parishes, St. Casimir has struggled financially over recent years. The church has traditionally been supported by a strong, work class, religious, Polish community. As this group of people began moving into neighboring suburbs of Cheektowaga, West Seneca and Depew, it must have suffered from a reduction in parishioners. Add to that the waning support of religious institutions in general and the Catholic Church in particular and it’s easy to understand why St. Casimir has seen troubled times. The mass mob generated a crowd of people that attended mass for a variety of reasons. Some come every Sunday to St. Casimir. Some came for the event. Some came because it was a major event featuring Kaisertown, and those events are rare. Some came for the architecture. The good thing for St. Casimir is that they came and this will help to financially support a structure that must be quite expensive to run and maintain.
Additionally, the mass mob event allowed people to not just attend mass, but to have an experience. Prior to the service there was a tour. People were also permitted to take a look at the room where Pope John Paul stayed during his visit. In my opinion though, the best part of the experience was the service itself. I have to applaud Father Czeslaw Krysa, who offered a relevant, interesting and thought provoking homily. He spoke of judgment and warned that “people are not their issues”. He spoke against the judgment of individuals for being divorced, single parents, gay, or of different ethnicities. It served as a wonderful reminder that people should be always be treated as people, and that is a message that is relevant in every part of life.
I love that the Mass Mob came to Kaisertown. I love it more that I was able to experience something in my neighborhood that I had yet to experience. I hope the people that came to the service feel the same way, enjoying both the event and the opportunity to experience Kaisertown as a neighborhood. It’s a pretty rad community and has a lot to offer if people are willing to reach out and take it.