The Christmas season at Brothers of Mercy is one of the best times of the year! Our entire Wellness Campus transforms into a serene winter wonderland: the evergreen trees are decorated with festive Christmas lights, our 126 acres are blanketed in beautiful snowfall, and an excited buzz fills the air as we anticipate the birth of Jesus. Residents and staff alike begin planning exciting Christmas festivities, including holiday parties, Christmas caroling, cookie decorating, gift exchanges and more!
Tree trimming parties are always a hit around here, and a great way to bring residents together. Garland, lights, manger scenes and trees were all assembled, displayed or decked out, and each community was left looking and feeling more festive than ever! Mrs. Claus made a surprise appearance this year at Sacred Heart Home! One of our resident’s daughters came dressed as Santa’s other half, armed with fresh baked cookies for all to enjoy during the Holiday Musical Reception. And since you can’t have Mrs. Claus without Mr. Claus, there were 2 jolly Santas on hand at Montabaur heights last week, handing out gifts to residents.
The ABC Bel Conto Choir, a nationally recognized youth choir based in Amherst, performed Christmas carols for our residents in the beginning of December. And the famous Mike Nugent, Buffalo’s very own “Millenial Crooner”, serenaded our Senior Apartments residents at their annual Christmas Party. Some generous staff members volunteered their time representing Brothers of Mercy at the Eastern Hills Mall, providing free gift wrapping services to customers at Barnes and Noble. And we can’t forget to mention the Holiday Sweater party at Montabaur Heights… Residents (and some of their walkers) were decked out in their best holiday sweaters, reindeer antlers, elf ensembles and even garland. No matter how members of the BOM family chose to celebrate, there was plenty of holiday cheer to go around, and we are thankful for the enthusiasm and excitement from all involved.
It is a tradition of the Brothers of Mercy to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass in the beautiful Sacred Heart Chapel. This year music for this celebration was provided by family members of 2 of our Montabaur Heights residents, Michael and Gina Kankiewicz, who joined the community in 2018. Multi-instrumentalists Michael Kankiewicz and Merry Jeffers have been performing in WNY for over four decades. Currently Merry is first violinist in the Amherst Chamber Ensemble, and Orchard Park and Southern Tier Symphony Orchestras. Michael is the featured guitarist in the Pete Ciraolo All-Star Jazz Big Band. They have been service musicians for Trinity Church in Hamburg, and St. Peters Church in Amherst. It was an honor to have them perform at this special mass. The celebrant for Christmas Eve Mass was Fr. Gene Slomba. He was assisted by Br. Kenneth, Br. Edmund and Br. Hugh. More than sixty were in attendance including residents, staff and neighbors.
Christmas Eve Mass 2018 at Sacred Heart Chapel:
As we approach 2019, and reflect back upon all of the blessings that 2018 has brought, may we remember that the light of Christ lives in us. Sending Christmas and New Year’s Blessings to all during this Holiday season, from the Brothers of Mercy!
FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Sacred Heart Chapel decorated for Christmas throughout the 1960’s:
Photos courtesy of The Brothers of Mercy Archives, Renee Villa, Br. Kenneth Thomas, Mary Baty, Ashlie Kolhagen, and Lisa Healey.