St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church

United States
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About St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church

Dear friend of St. Leo the Great Parish:

St. Leo the Great Parish is a family of faith, serving the needs of parishioners and the wider community for over 50 years. We are committed to living our Catholic faith through prayer and service. Our parish provides many opportunities to grow in faith through prayer, educational experiences, and in service. We have over 30 parish ministries, which are open to young people and parishioners of all ages.

Our parish is committed to providing a wonderful educational experience in our school, offering a faith-based education for pre-school through eighth grade. Our religious education program for children begins in first grade and continues through the Confirmation program in tenth grade.

Please join us for prayer at Mass, stop by our chapel for a visit, and consider becoming part of our parish family. We look forward to growing in faith and sharing our blessings together as brothers and sisters of Christ.

With prayers,
Rev. Msgr. Robert E. Zapfel and the Parish Staff

Location of worship

St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church
St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church
885 Sweet Home Rd
Amherst, New York 14226
United States
Phone: 716-835-8905

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Leader Details

Rev. Msgr. Robert E. Zapfel, S.T.D
Rev. Msgr. Robert E. Zapfel, S.T.D
885 Sweet Home Rd
Amherst, New York 14226
United States
Phone: 716-835-8905

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Quote of the Day
Matthew 2:4-6

When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"


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St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church Amherst Mass Times


8:00, 9:30 & 11:00 AM


4:30 PM


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St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church History

Breaking new ground at St. Leo the Great

A new chapter begins

May 9th marked an historic moment in the history of St. Leo the Great Parish on Sweet Home Road in Amherst as a ground breaking ceremony took place for the new parish center. With the help of architect Doug Scheid and the building committee, parishioners were able to view drawings of the new layout weeks prior to the event.

Over 9,000 square feet, the parish center will connect to the church for easy and convenient access. The center will feature a banquet room with seating capacity of 275. It will be ideal for social and educational events as well as for weddings, sacramental receptions and seminars. The large teaching kitchen will be a community resource, hosting nutritionists who will help groups with special needs-including those with diabetes, weight or heart issues, etc.

A separate new structure will feature a 7,000 square foot recreation area for all age groups. Included will be a pavilion for outdoor picnics. “I am very excited about the future of our parish family as we take another step forward in the legacy of our faith community. While we honor our past, we look forward to a new chapter and a faith filled future where God’s people will continue to be spiritually nourished and enjoy the fellowship of community,” said Msgr. Robert E. Zapfel, S.T.D., pastor of St. Leo the Great Parish, a Station Church for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year with a blessed Holy Door of Mercy.

Holy door hours are:

M-F 7:30am-4:00pm, Sat 7:30am-5:30pm and Sun. 7:30-noon.

St. Leo the Great Parish was established on June 12, 1953 by the Most Rev. Joseph A. Burke, Bishop of Buffalo with Rev. Clatus E. Snyder appointed as the first pastor. A small residence at 803 Sweet Home was purchased from Santo Billoni for $16,500 to be used as a temporary rectory. Later, the house was exchanged for property from the Sykes family. Twenty acres of land on Sweet Home was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Henry Brummer and additional land was donated by the Donovan family to serve as a future site of the church and school.

The first Mass of the new parish was offered in a field with subsequent masses offered in the parking lot of Northtown Plaza. Daily Mass was held in the Rectory.

Ground was broken on Ascension Day in 1954 for the school and in September of that year the school was open for children in grades K-8. In December, mass was offered in the basement of the school, named the Chapel of the Infant Jesus. Just 4 years later in September 1958, a new wing of the school containing the junior auditorium and bowling lanes were opened.

In June of 1961, Fr. Patrick J. Dineen became the 2nd pastor. In 1966, the new rectory was completed and in spring 1970, work was started on the current church and dedication was held on December 5, 1971.

A 3-alarm fire, destroyed “Leo Lanes,” the parish bowling alleys on August 25, 1970. The fire was blamed on burglars. A decision was reached not to rebuild the bowling lanes.

On August 1, 1978, Msgr. Patrick Dineen retired at the age of 75 and Bishop Edward D. Head named Msgr. William McDonnell the 3rd pastor of St. Leo’s. A 6 year fund drive was initiated in January 1979 to reduce the parish debt and to make major repairs. On October 6, 1985 a special mortgage burning Mass was celebrated.

Msgr. McDonnell died suddenly on retreat in Florida on January 17, 2002. Msgr. Michael J. Yunk was named administrator of the parish.

Msgr. Robert E. Zapfel was appointed on April 8, 2002 as the 4th pastor of St. Leo’s. In January 2003, the new addition to the church was completed to provided a central gathering space, baby sitting area and an updated front entrance.

In March 2003, the new parish office addition was completed to provide office space for the parish staff.   Edit

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The power of Christian prayer The way, the truth, and the life
Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.
This page was last updated on the 14th of February, 2018
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