Priest weathers Christmas blizzard to celebrate Mass for two – UCA News

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

At least 28 people in Erie County, New York, have died during the storm, said county executive Mark Poloncarz.

Father Paul Seil experienced a Christmas unlike any other in his 67 years of life in Buffalo, New York.

In the midst of the multiday blizzard that paralyzed parts of western New York, Father Seil, chaplain for the Buffalo Fire Department, had to evacuate the rectory at his parish in the city’s Old First Ward neighborhood on Christmas Eve, then spent the night aboard the department’s fire boat and celebrated a short Mass Christmas morning for crewman Jack Kelleher.

Finally, the afternoon of Christmas Day Father Seil made it to the rectory at St. Joseph Cathedral — courtesy of Kelleher — where he has been “holed up” since.

“This is the worst storm I’ve ever seen,” Father Seil, a native of Buffalo, told Catholic News Service Dec. 27.

The blizzard and subzero temperatures prompted Buffalo Bishop Michael W. Fisher to urge Catholics living in the worst affected communities to avoid venturing to their parish for Christmas Mass and to take advantage of live-streamed liturgies instead.

“Do not attempt to attend Masses in person,” Bishop Fisher warned Dec. 24.

At least 28 people in Erie County, New York, had died during the storm, said county executive Mark Poloncarz. Over the course of four days, the storm dumped 4 feet of snow in Buffalo and surrounding communities.

Nationwide, more than 50 people died because of the storm, which affected tens of millions of Americans and Canadians beginning Dec. 21 and lasting for five days.

Father Seil’s Christmas adventure began after the electricity went out the evening of Dec. 23 in much of the neighborhood around Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, which has served the community for 125 years.

Priest weathers Christmas blizzard to celebrate Mass for two – UCA News

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