St. Pacificus

Tonight after a lovely dinner in Ellicottville, New York with my wife and daughter I drove over the mountains to Olean, New York. On my way I passed through the sleepy little hamlet of Humphrey. Humphrey is one of those places that used to be. There is what once was a general store. There are still two churches, one Baptist, one Roman Catholic. St. Pacificus is the Catholic Church in Humphrey. It’s a quaint structure that looks like it belongs on a picture postcard, but the Eucharist is celebrated there every Sunday. St. Pacificus St. Pacificus celebrated its 150th anniversary as a parish in 2005. It was built in 1855, the first of many mission churches built in New York’s southern tier by the recently arrived Franciscan friars. The friars are almost taken for granted in our area. Fr. Pamphilo and his brother Franciscans arrived the year before and stayed in the Ellicottville area before moving on to what became St. Bonaventure College and now St. Bonaventure University. The arrival of those Franciscans heralded the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in New York’s Southern Tier. Like our seraphic father, St. Francis, those friars and the Franciscan nuns that arrived later preached the Gospel everyday through their work and service to the area. My own Franciscan vocation can be traced to their influence.