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About Our Parish

 Humble Beginnings

Our parish, formally known as “Saints Peter & Paul’s German Catholic Church of Hamburg, NY,” was founded in the year 1844 by twenty-two German men who settled in Hamburg’s fertile farmland. Before that time, Catholic families needed to travel to St. Louis Church in Buffalo or to East Eden to attend mass. With the death of East Eden pastor, Rev. Johann Nicholas Mertz in 1844, Hamburg families formed a separate congregation in White’s Corners, present day village of Hamburg. The first church building on the corner of East Main and Pine Streets was purchased from the Freewill Baptist or Thilerite congregation on June 11, 1845 for the sum of $650. In 1847, Redemptorist priests from St. Mary’s Church in Buffalo journeyed to Hamburg every second Sunday to say mass in Hamburg. In 1860, Rev. George Pax raised funds to build a new brick church with a tower and the old wooden church was moved to its present site at 239 East Main Street. This second church was dedicated on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 19, 1863. Shortly after this time, the parish was officially incorporated. Two church bells were installed in the tower; the larger was called “Sanctus Georgius” and the smaller was called “Petrus et Paulus.”

Notable early pastors include Rev. Vincenz Scheffels, who purchased the cemetery in 1875 and served as pastor on three different occasions and Rev. Andrew Frey who wrote “An Historical Sketch of SS. Peter and Paul Parish” in 1900. Rev. Anthony Bornefeld served as pastor from 1908 until his death in the church on April 7, 1920. He was the force that built the present Romanesque style church in 1910, rather than splitting the growing congregation into two parishes. Bishop Charles H. Colton dedicated our third church building on July 2, 1911. Rev. Bornefeld is remembered today by his gift of two stained glass windows of Saints Francis Xavier and Catharine, named after his parents, and by the magnificent enameled chalice he donated to the church. Rev. Anthony Veit became pastor on May 7, 1920 and served for thirty-seven years.

Our parish has also included a school since 1863, and Rev. Veit replaced the old 1874 building with a combination grammar and high school that was dedicated by Rev. Nelson H. Baker on November 13, 1921. Today, our parish continues to make history.

In 2006 under Pastor Rev. Mark Wolski, new construction of the Social Center was completed. The new addition allowed for the parish to be handicapped accessible. The parish center included a parish meeting room, the Franciscan Chapel and a brand new gymnasium. The addition also allowed for renovations to the school's old gymnasium, which was turned into a state-of-the-art computer lab, library and school resource room.

To celebrate the current church building’s 100th anniversary in the fall of 2011, the church was freshly painted.

In 2015, our parish rennovated our school cafeteria. The facility now features a beautiful new ceiling, flooring and state-of-the-art technology for meetings.

Rev. Arthur Mattulke now serves as pastor to a congregation of 3,500 families after Rev. Mark Wolski's retirement in 2012. Over 350 boys and girls attend our community school and nearly 1,000 children come here weekly for religious education. Many groups such as the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Parish Outreach and the Altar and Rosary Society spread the gospel as they minister to the Hamburg community, making Saints Peter and Paul Parish a vibrant community for the 21st Century. For a more detailed history of our parish, please refer to the booklet, “Saints Peter and Paul Church, Hamburg, New York: 1844-1994” by Martha Eder.

John R. Edson

 

Rev. Arthur Mattulke, Pastor

Rev. Arthur Mattulke came to SS. Peter & Paul Parish in June 2012.

“It’s a great warm community,” said Fr. Mattulke. “It is so vibrant here.”

Fr. Mattulke was ordained into the priesthood on May 17, 1997.

“It was not something I intended to do,” said Rev. Mattulke of becoming a priest.

He had planned on pursuing a career in computer technology, getting married and having three children. “I had all their names picked out,” said Fr. Mattulke.

Rev. Mattulke said that it was the guidance of Fr. Yetter and Pastor Bishop Trautman of his home parish at SS. Peter & Paul in Williamsville that helped him realize his call to the priesthood.

He went to Erie Community College for two years and studied business administration. He went on to John Paul II residence, a pre-seminary program for the diocese and to Canisius College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in religious studies and psychology. He then studied at Christ the King Seminary, where he earned a Masters of Divinity degree.

Most recently, he has served as Pastor of St. Padre Pio Parish in Oakfield, NY.

Rev. Mattulke is a native of Williamsville. He enjoys cheering on the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills.

Rev. Patrick O'Keefe, Parochial Vicar

Rev. Patrick O’Keefe came to SS. Peter & Paul Parish to serve as Parochial Vicar from the St. Padre Pio Parish.

“We work really well together,” said Pastor Rev. Mattulke, who has been friends with Rev. O’Keefe for nearly 20 years.

Rev. O’Keefe was ordained into the priesthood May 4, 1996.

“I always worked around the church,” said Rev. O’Keefe. “I thought about the priesthood, but put it on the backburner.”

He went on to pursue baking and studied at Buffalo State College, but after some thought and reflection, he later entered Christ the King Seminary.

While Rev. O’Keefe will serve as Parochial Vicar, he will also continue to serve as Director of Campus Ministries at D’Youville College. He has served as the director for the past two years and has enjoyed seeing the strength of the students’ faith throughout their college career.

“The students are there because they want to be there,” said Rev. O’Keefe who also enjoys helping students transition from high school to college.

Rev. O’Keefe is a native of Orchard Park; he enjoys cooking, baking and creating crafts.

Rev. John Adams, Parochial Vicar & School Liaison

Rev. John Adams came to SS. Peter & Paul Parish to serve as Parochial Vicar and School Liaison in June 2014 after his ordination into priesthood on June 7, 2014.

“I love interacting with all age groups of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and enjoy being involved in ministry with youth and their families,” says Rev. John, who has masters and doctoral degrees in counseling psychology from UCLA.  He also has a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Penn State University.

Rev. John taught at three universities, including Rochester Institute of Technology before accepting the position of school psychologist at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf where he worked for nine years.  During this time, he moved to Angola, New York where he joined St. Anthony’s Church in Farnham, New York.  Rev. John taught 11th grade religious education, was a Eucharistic minister, a member of parish council and the spirit life director. Rev. John is also a licensed psychologist. He was the director of the Family Center of Western New York which eventually became his private practice working with individuals who were deaf, hard of hearing, hearing and persons with special needs and their families for approximately ten years.  He is fluent in sign language.

“During the funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II, I felt a strong, strong experience from our Lord to do something different than what I was doing, using similar skills that I had in my work experience through the church,” says Rev. John of his calling to priesthood.

Rev. John is a native of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh and enjoys being outdoors, hiking and walking, enjoying nature, bike riding, swimming, playing tennis, watching sports (especially football) and spending time with family and friends.