Niagara Gazette

Columns

May 4, 2014

GLYNN: Falls native has firm link to the Vatican

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — •••

VISIT RECALLED: In the summer of 1976, then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (later John Paul II), accompanied by 18 bishops from Poland, came to the United States to participate in the 41st Eucharist Congress in Philadelphia. After their sessions, the prelates made a side trip to the Buffalo-Niagara area. Later, they were welcomed to Niagara Falls by Councilman William J. Gallagher, the acting mayor. He took them on a tour of Niagara Falls State Park and joined them for lunch at the Parkway-Ramada Inn overlooking the upper river. 

“I was really impressed with him. He seemed so easy-going, robust and trim,” said Gallagher, now a Lewiston resident. “He also was interested in all the sites, especially the international control structure, the 1,550-foot dam extending out from the Canadian shore to regulate the flow over the falls.”

Cardinal Wojtyla celebrated Mass at St. Casimir Church in Buffalo and stayed the night in the rectory there. To commemorate the visit, the Rev. Czeslaw M. Krysa, rector of that parish, has designated a room in the rectory as the Papal Prayer Room, where visitors can write a prayer on a sticky note and put it on the wall next to the life-size photo of Cardinal Wojtyla that Father Krysa took on a visit to Krakow in 1977.

•••

IN EARLIER DAYS: If Monsignor Sciera’s name sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because his father was known locally as “Whitey the Cop.” Kids who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s will remember, especially those who often tried sneaking into Hyde Park Stadium for a baseball game (the New York-Penn League). They kept “Whitey,” the park police officer, hopping for most of the nine innings.

An ex-Falls resident recalled one night sitting with friends on the ledge of the red brick wall enclosing the stadium: “Whitey hollered for us to get down but we just ignored him. He got so frustrated that he started waving his billy club at us. He lost his grip and the club went over the wall and into left field. He begged us to give it back but we weren’t that dumb.”

•••

TRIVIA QUIZ: (Answer to Thursday question) President William Howard Taft, who weighed more than 300 pounds, became stuck in his bathtub and was rescued by White House aides.

Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.

Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.

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