St. Francis Alumni Mass – 2017

John chooses the red-white strawberry pancakes and passes on the red, white, and blue All-American stack. Every third year we are at Rooster’s Cafe on Ridge Road in Lackawanna, NY. I imagine steel workers packing the place early in the morning. Rooster’s is just up the road from the long gone gates of Bethlehem Steel. Who comes to the 5 AM opening now?




This year’s Alumni Memorial Mass remembers Peter Kuhn and Richard Wesolowski from the class of 1964.

Members of Dick Wesolowski’s family attend Mass. After Mass we share condolences and memories with Eleanor, his mom who lives near St. Francis High School. Unable to travel to her son’s funeral in Colorado, she is glad to be with us in remembering. Travelling from Colorado to bring her mother in law, Dick’s wife Sylvia, his brother Skip and a nephew also share this moment with us.

Dan Galluch, Ron Michnik and I are there from the class of ’64. Also with us is Carol Palczewski and son, Todd. Husband Roger passed away before last year’s Mass. We read an email from Hank Pietraszek and share condolences and regrets from Sam Santarosa and Bill Graser. Ron Dabelle has sent Sylvia a beautiul Mass card which we gave her. On Dick’s Facebook page, Gary Janaczek recalled good times at the Wesolowski home. Dick was class president. He remains easily recognizable in the front row of the Buffalo Evening News class photo we give his family.

Father Mike’s Lenten sermon reminds us that in this day of wearable devices we should also monitor our spiritual health. This annual trip to the Memorial Mass is a personal monitor of the roots and growth of Franciscan values and friendship.

Also attending is Anthony (Antek) Rudnicki from the class of ’59. Antek is the author of Bipolar Buffalo. Exerpts from the book – which includes a great story about Fr. Rufinus – along with recent critiques and observations are found on his website

I have to get something from John’s car. Fumbling with the keys, the student choir member next to me offers help. We introduce each other. Does he wonder if fifty three years from now he will be stumped by an everyday task like this old choir alumni?

Carol Palczewski takes John and I on a personal tour of Buffalo’s River Works. Giant Labatt’s Beer cans welcome us. Condo’s, apartments, and businesses are re-energizing the city along its water ways. Cobblestone Square and Larkin Square have persevered through difficult times and are adapting and driving new economy and lifestyle.



Later in the afternoon we meet up with Ron and Lynda Michnik at Schwabl’s . Over the famous beef on weck, we share history of place and history of relationships. The connections are wide and deep.

Carol Palczewski spouse of Roger ’64, Lynda Michnik , Ron Michnik ’64, Anthony Mielniczuk ’64 with long time friend John Macmillan of Toronto.

It’s late, we leave for Toronto without shopping or  with take-home chicken wings. Definitely have to return before next March.


About mielniczuk

Community, systems, design, collaboration, change, evidence, Intelligent Accountability(c)
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