Our History

Even before the arrival of Father John Neumann in 1836, Ss. Peter and Paul School had its beginnings in a private home in Williamsville. Upon Fr. Neumann’s arrival, classes were moved to the home of Philip Wirtz. Fr. Neumann, pastor, assumed the duties of teacher. Later in 1857, the home of Mrs. Betsy Grove was purchased and used as the classic one room school house. When construction of the present day church began in 1862, the former church was used as a second school until 1871. The old church was torn down and classes were held in the new church basement. In 1893 Pastor Rev. Martin Phillips discovered the need for a new school. With $3,000.00 donated by 6 families, a new school was constructed.

In 1919 Rev. Walter F. Fornes was appointed the first American-born pastor. He was greatly concerned with the development of the parish school. In 1920 he expanded the school to double its size, giving primary grades individual rooms. e also felt a strong need to provide a parochial high school, so courses were introduced in 1920. The school was named Neumann High School.

Rev. Fornes deemed it necessary to separate the high school student from the grammar school children. With this philosophy, it was decided that one wing of the eventual three-unit, three story brick and stone building be constructed. In June of 1929 the first class graduated from the newly completed auditorium.

In 1952 during Msgr. George Zimpfer’s pastorate, the cornerstone of the present-day building was laid with the whole-hearted cooperation of the parishioners. This new building held both grammar and high school students. As a result of the increasing number of grammar school students, the high school relocated.

Under Msgr. Nelson Logal’s pastorate, from 1973 to 1985, Bingo was introduced to the school and parish and all proceeds were designated to benefit the school. The schools first computers, first copy machine, audio visual equipment along with many other educational aides were purchased as a direct result of Bingo (which has since been discontinued).

Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, Auxiliary Bishop of the Buffalo Diocese was pastor from 1985 until 1990. Bishop Trautman, has a great love of Catholic education, and extensively renovated the school building and displayed untiring and dedicated interest in everything pertaining to the school and its children.

In 1990 Msgr. David M. Gallivan became pastor of Ss. Peter & Paul. Msgr. Gallivan taught his parishioners how to assume active leadership roles in the parish. He also moved the parish office to the rear of the parish property on Glen Avenue and reconfigured the school building. Msgr. Gallivan left the parish in March of 1999.

From 1999 to 2004, Rev. James O’Connor served as pastor. He was deeply committed to the care of our parish and school. Fr. O’Connor restored the church to its original traditional beauty and oversaw the remodeling of the Neuman Center in the basement of the church.

In 2005, our present pastor, Rev. Jerry Kopec, came to Ss. Peter and Paul. He was warmly greeted by members of the parish. Fr. Kopec has brought his love of liturgy, Catholic education and sense of humor to Ss. Peter and Paul. He has worked diligently to meet the demands of a rapidly growing parish and school.