(Extensions of Remarks - September 20, 1995)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1812-E1813]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                   TRIBUTE TO MSGR. DAVID A. GERNATT


                            HON. JACK QUINN

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, September 20, 1995
  Mr. QUINN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of Msgr. David A. 
Gernatt, better known simply as Father Dave. Father Dave is retiring 
this year after nearly 50 years as a Catholic priest and over 25 years 
as the first and only pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic 
Church in West Seneca, NY.
  Father Dave was the 6th of 10 children born to John and Martha 
Gernatt, immigrants from Austria and Germany. It was while growing up 
on the farm in Collins that Father Dave first learned his committed 
work ethic and deep devotion to his religion.
  Father Dave entered the Josephinum Pontifical College of Worthington, 
OH at the age of 14. He spent 12 years there, studying through his high 
school years, his college years and 4 years of graduate courses in 
theology. Father Dave never received a high school or college diploma 
because his goal was not to graduate, but to become a priest.

[[Page E 1813]]

  Father Dave served at five parishes throughout western New York 
before returning to the Josephinum in 1966 to serve as spiritual 
director. At this time, Father Dave was invested as a monsignor. His 
time back at the college was short lived because in 1967 he resigned in 
order to become a paster; however, it did teach him valuable lessons 
about the new things going on in the church after the Second Vatican 
  On October 22, 1967, Bishop James McNulty of Buffalo assigned Father 
Dave with forming the new Parish of St. Catherine of Siena. Church 
services were first held in the West Seneca Town Hall while the new 
church building was built on the former farm at 4928 Seneca Street. The 
ground breaking ceremony took place in October of 1967. The first mass 
was said there on June 1, 1970.
  Father Dave had a vision of developing a family-like community. He 
believed that there were no distinctions between priests and lay people 
and both should work together. Father Dave always believed in his 
parishioners and worked to encourage involvement of everyone in the 
parish. Father Dave knew and believed that everyone has different gifts 
to offer and the entire community could only benefit from everyone 
offering their gifts.
  This parish and Father Dave holds such a special place in many 
peoples' hearts. A small example of this is the fact that the 
membership of this community out stretches my Congressional District. 
The benefits of this small community that gathers throughout the week 
in West Seneca have literally been felt throughout the world.
  Father Dave will always be a part of St. Catherine's. His vow of no 
bingo will long echo through St. Catherine's. Father Dave's belief that 
mass is no place to talk about money will continue to be carried on 
through the tradition of not passing a basket. Father Dave's goals will 
still continue to be met when night after night the church building is 
being used, not just Sundays. Father Dave's work will continue to be 
seen at every gathering at St. Catherine's when there is every age 
group represented offering its own gift at every meeting and function. 
The plain, simple structure of St. Catherine's will always be a mirror 
image of the exterior of Father Dave, just as the inner warmth, 
compassion, and love of Father Dave will continue to be felt inside St. 
  Mr. Speaker, I am honored to have this opportunity to recognize 
Father Dave. I wish him a happy and healthy retirement. I also wish the 
people of the parish he built continue the ways that Father Dave laid 
down for them. I thank Father Dave for the strong and lasting positive 
effect he has had on the western New York community.