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By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 3/5/2015 12:05 PM

There is an embarrassing story my family loves to recount every Christmas. It is, of course, about me. I was very small, perhaps in first-grade. The only remaining present for me under the tree was from my aunt. 


When I opened the beautifully wrapped package and discovered a sweater – hand-knitted, no less – I tossed it to the ground and broke out in tears. What I had wanted more than anything else was a little toy fire truck. And no one had given it to me ... not even my aunt. 

In hindsight, I know that the sweater was worth so much more in time and thoughtfulness. My aunt knitted it with love, in exactly the right size, and in a color she thought would be just right for me. But I didn't get my fire truck. I was ready to settle for the lesser rather than the greater gift. 

By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 2/5/2015 12:13 PM

Unlike some Christian churches which te
nd to be self-contained, self-sufficient and freestanding, our Catholic parishes are distinct faith communities within the larger Church community that we call the diocese.  For us Catholics of Western New York, the “Diocese of Buffalo” is another way of speaking about the entire Roman Catholic community of our eight counties – all of the people (laity, religious, priests and deacons), as well as our parishes, schools, colleges and universities, health care and human service ministries, and so much more.  


Often people assume that “the diocese” means “downtown” – 795 Main Street in Buffalo.  Nothing is further from the truth.  795 Main Street is simply the location of the Catholic Center, the administrative headquarters of the bishop and the various departments, ministries and offices that serve the many and varied dimensions of the mission of the Church here in Western New York.  One hundred forty-three good people – laity, religious and clergy – work in the Catholic Center.  I am so grateful for their faithful service to our Church.  You should be, too.

By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 1/8/2015 6:18 AM

Even as homes, stores and streets are quickly stripped of holiday decorations during these days after Christmas, Christians continue to observe the Lord’s birthday through Sunday, Jan. 11, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

During this season that we call Christmastide, we celebrate the beautiful Solemnity of Epiphany.  The Scriptures of the feast call all nations to sing God’s praises, because they have heard the good news, worshiping the long awaited Messiah with the gift of their lives.  The image of the Three Kings, the wisemen from the East bearing gifts to the Infant Jesus, engages our reflection on gifts ... those we have received, those we can give. Let me mention two.
By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 1/5/2015 10:59 AM

I recently found a New York Times piece I had clipped back in May 2013 entitled “The Joylessness of Sex on TV” by Ginia Bellafante. The essay opens with these words: “Sex on TV is more risqué, more graphic and more raunchy than ever. So why is it so incredibly unsexy?”

The author’s diagnosis is that “much of it is divorced from any real sense of eroticism or desire,” leaving portrayals of sex that are “transactional” and “utilitarian.” The objective of that article was certainly not to reflect on the authentic meaning of human sexuality. It did, though, at least scratch the surface of the question, recognizing a few symptoms of the confusion and distortion that surround the matter of sexuality these days. Sexual expression, when wrenched out of its God-designed meaning and purpose, is bound to be joyless, even destructive.

Sexuality is such a potent dimension of human personhood that no one should be surprised that the subject of sex turns up just about everywhere. Cultural critics use words like “obsession” and “saturation” to describe our society’s preoccupation with sex and sexuality. The more superficial and inadequate views of sex as merely an emotional or physical impulse dominate everything from “hook up” dating to TV series and cinema to casual conversation to standup comedy and advertising, the more it becomes trivialized and detached from its authentic context of meaning. Our Catholic tradition, on the other hand, offers good solid truths about sexuality, beautiful truths drawn from both reason and God’s revelation.

In the midst of our culture’s obsession with all things sexual, how often do you hear anyone asking about the meaning of human sexuality?
By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 12/10/2014 9:24 PM

On the occasion of the Third Sunday of Advent, Bishop R. William Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York and I have written a joint pastoral letter on the renewal of Western New York.

This is an historic collaboration in Western New York between our two dioceses. It focuses on important local and regional issues that we both feel should be addressed, in a spirit of both hope and challenge.

The joint letter celebrates the rejuvenation of Buffalo that has been witnessed over the past several years and calls for civic and business leaders to actively seek ways for the new prosperity to be spread throughout the wider region.

By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 12/4/2014 11:05 AM

As I write, I am at the airport in Rome awaiting my flight home through Philadelphia to snowbound Buffalo.  I followed news of the storm on CNN at the Pontifical North American College, our U.S. seminary in Rome, where I stayed during the meeting.  

In my heart and my prayer are the people who lost their lives during this superstorm, those who mourn their passing, and all who have been impacted by this unprecedented weather event – especially everyone whose challenging and dangerous task it is to “work” the storm and its aftermath.

My trip to Rome was occasioned by an invitation from the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to participate in an international colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman in marriage.  It was truly a historic gathering.  We heard presentations on the topic from scholars and leaders representing the major religions of the world:  Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Taoist, Islamic and Jewish, as well as many Christian traditions, mostly Anglican and Evangelical, along with a significant Catholic presence.
By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 10/6/2014 9:20 AM

In the Holy Land

As most of you know, I returned recently from a Bishops’ Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace in the Holy Land.  You can read more about that experience in the October of the Western New York Catholic.  It was an intense experience that will take me some time to process, both in my mind and in my heart.  

Much of our schedule, the eight days we were there, was given over to meetings and dialogue with Palestinian and Israeli government officials, as well as Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders.  We also met with parishioners and university students, and with Catholic Relief Services staff in Gaza.  
By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 9/3/2014 9:03 AM

The title of this column is borrowed from a fine book on monastic culture and spirituality by Father Jean Leclerq, OSB.  While monasticism is a blessed vocation within our Church, it is not, however, my topic this month.  The love of learning and the desire for God is.  

My prayer is that these words might serve as goal, inspiration and motivation for growth in faith for all of us Western New York Catholics as another September dawns.  As parish lifelong faith formation, Catholic schools and colleges, campus ministries, youth and young adult ministries, RCIA and other diocesan educational/formational ministries move ahead with the mission of forming disciples, I express my profound gratitude to the thousands of generous women and men – laity, religious and clergy – who faithfully lead and carry out these essential works of our diocese.
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