A tiny seed of hopefulness in the small town of Ushers, New York, set the humble beginning of the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church. The first two Masses were said by Fr. Charles Gaffigan in a small, two-story farmhouse on October 6, 1946 … a farmhouse and property deeded to the Albany Diocese by the Hynes family. In such a rural area, attendance at Mass ranged from five to forty parishioners, depending on the weather.
This seemingly quiet rural area quickly grew and so did the demand for more worship space. By September 1954, fundraising by parishioners afforded them the purchase of a tract of land adjacent to the farmhouse as the site of the new church. Groundbreaking took place a month later and the Corpus Christi Church building was designed. It would seat 400 parishioners, had a choir loft, a vestry, and – unlike the farmhouse – it looked like a church. Once in the new church, the farmhouse was used as a rectory and church hall.Over the years, the congregation as well as the pastoral leadership grew. There were many pastors and associate pastors but the same thread of spiritual guidance and bringing faith to the community was woven through all of them. With increasing demands for additional space to accommodate faith formation and training programs, more fundraisers brought about a redesign of the church building, the addition of the parish center, and relocation of the pastor’s residence to Country Knolls. At one point, in an uplifting example of ecumenical support, Jonesville Methodist Church opened its doors and provided Corpus Christi with much needed additional space for religious education.
The enthusiasm of the Corpus Christi Community was very much alive. With the pastoral challenge that “anonymity destroys community,” parishioners were invited to become lay ministers and active participants in the liturgical life of the Church, adults and youth as well. This challenge was exciting and the faith-filled spirit of this community today carries on with the same devotion, enthusiasm, and determination.
Like the tiny seed that rooted the beginning of Corpus Christi, this Roman Catholic Community has been nourished by its members, their dedication to keeping numerous ministries alive within the parish, and their determination to provide a place of worship and comfort to all who belong there or to anyone who may stop by along the way.
The Mission Statement of the Corpus Christi Community encompasses the sentiment of the congregation today and continues to nurture the faith community in the new church building, dedicated in 2004. In part, it reads: “Corpus Christi is a warm, spiritually involved Roman Catholic Parish with a strong sense of community, as inspired by the second Vatican Council. We draw our strength from the celebration of the Word and Eucharist. Our Mission, rooted in the example and teaching of Jesus, is: To reach within and beyond our community with love, compassion and healing; To offer opportunities for lifelong faith formation; To foster lay leadership and ministries in all aspects of parish life; To accept diversity of faith and life experience; To encourage and nurture families as they grow in faith; and, To help support each other in our pursuit of Christ-like lives.”
Corpus Christi remains grateful to God for the dedication and direction of the following pastors since the parish’s inception:
Charles A. Gaffigan (first pastor) – 10/1/46-1953
C. Edward Hickey – 1953-1965
Arthur P. Carroll – 1965-1969
Kenneth Doyle – 1969-1975
Richard Rataczak (Associate)
Michael Sheridan (Associate)
Richard Jones (Associate)
Lionel Guillaume – 1975-1979
Richard Fragomeni (Associate)
Gary Gelfenbein (Associate)
John DeCaprio – 1979-1994
Richard Alban (Associate)
Patrick Butler (Associate)
Raymond Ethier (Associate)
Edward Golding (Associate)
Martin DeRose (Associate)
Edward Fitzpatrick – 7/1/1994-1996
Bernard Turner (Associate)
Barry Lonergan (Associate)
Edward C. Pratt – 11/1996-6/2002
Martin Fisher – 8/2002-2008
Edward Golding – 2008-11/2010
James Clark – 11/2010-10/2015 Joseph Cebula (Administrator) - 12/2015-5/2016
Richard Lesser - 5/2016-present