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WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will vote on a new introductory note and limited revisions to the 2007 version of “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the USCCB’s quadrennial statement on political responsibility, at the bishops’ annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 16-18. The document, which is issued about a year before each U.S. presidential election, will feature proposed new language around issues of public concern for Catholics.

The revisions are the result of a working group led by USCCB’s vice president, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. The working group consisted of the chairmen of a broad cross-section of USCCB committees whose work encompasses the issues raised in “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” The working group sought to update language in keeping with policy developments since the 2007 version, and to include the later teachings of Benedict XVI, as well as the teachings of Pope Francis, including his recent encyclical Laudato Si’.


Freedom to serve the needy, great national tradition, at stake

Continue years of prayer for justice for those who offer mercy

Pope Francis paid surprise visit to Little Sisters, among those before Supreme Court

WASHINGTON–As the Supreme Court takes up the plea of religious ministries to uphold their fundamental right to offer comprehensive health coverage consistent with their religious convictions, Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman of USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, is inviting everyone to join in prayer.

Archbishop Lori welcomed today’s decision:

“Charitable ministries across the nation simply want to provide life-affirming health care for their employees, without fear of massive government penalties. At stake is nothing less than their freedom to serve others. Let us pray for justice for those who offer mercy.

“For years, we have prayed that the federal government would not force those who serve the needy—such as the Little Sisters of the Poor—to fund or facilitate coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions. Today, as the matter moves to the Supreme Court, we renew our prayer that this basic freedom will prevail. This freedom is not only common sense, it is what the law requires. And it is in keeping with our great national tradition of respecting religious freedom and diversity, which Pope Francis recognized to be ‘one of America’s most precious possessions.’”

Catholic Cemeteries honor unclaimed remains on All Souls Day
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 by Patrick J. Buechi, WNY Catholic


Bishop Richard J. Malone marked the Feast of All Souls by presiding at a committal service for unclaimed cremated remains at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna. The Nov. 2 service saw the cremains of over 300 placed in an exterior crypt named the Crypt of the Holy Angels with the inscription, “Eternal Rest Grant unto Them, O Lord.”

“To bury the dead is one of the corporal works of mercy, along with feeding the hungry and visiting those who are in prison. It truly is a good and holy thing,” Bishop Malone said, noting the service took place shortly before the start of the Year of Mercy. “Pope Francis has declared beginning Dec. 8, the Catholic Church around the world will celebrate a Jubilee Year of Mercy, when we are to ponder God’s mercy for us, and also, the way we are called to live that mercy in our lives with one another. This is a beautiful example of that,” he said.

St. Benedict School names new principal
Monday, November 02, 2015 by Kevin Keenan

A veteran educator with a wealth of school administration experience has been named principal of St. Benedict School in Eggertsville.

Michael C. LaFever, Ed.D, will assume leadership of the pre-K through eighth-grade school effective Oct. 19.

He was an elementary school principal in the Elba Central School District in Elba, and New Hartford Central Schools in New Hartford, N.Y., and an elementary school teacher in the Olean City School District.

For the past two years, Dr. LaFever has served as chief administrative officer for administration & auxiliary Services at Trocaire College in South Buffalo. For six years, he was Trocaire’s dean of program development and enrollment management. Prior to his service at Trocaire, he was superintendent of schools for two public districts: South Country Central School District in East Patchogue, N.Y., and Ellicottville Central Schools. He was director of curriculum, instruction & staff development for the Tonawanda City School District, director of tech prep for Niagara County Community College, and an adjunct faculty member at Buffalo State College.

“Dr. LaFever’s vast experience in the classroom and in school administration will help us to continue on our pathway to academic excellence,” said Father Robert M. Mock, pastor of St. Benedict Parish. “Through his leadership and collaborative skills, our dedicated faculty and staff will continue to inspire the faith of our students, enrich their lives and provide innovative classroom instruction.”


WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops will vote on a proposed formal statement, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,” at the annual Fall General Assembly, November 16-19, in Baltimore. The statement’s development has been directed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (LMFLY), in collaboration with other USCCB Committees and offices, as well as additional experts.

“As a response to the pastoral crisis brought about by the production and use of pornography, the formal statement intends to offer a comprehensive treatment of this important topic,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the LMFLY Committee. “It is directed primarily at Catholic leaders and parents, though with an eye to all who struggle with or are affected by pornography.”

A number of bishops have issued pastoral letters on the topic of pornography in their own dioceses, and the USCCB has addressed the topic in various resources, including its 1998 statement Renewing the Mind of the Media: Statement on Overcoming the Exploitation of Sex and Violence in Communications and its 2009 pastoral letter Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan. If approved, “Create in Me a Clean Heart” would be the first formal statement issued by the body of bishops focused exclusively on a pastoral response to pornography production and use. Supplementary resources would be developed to accompany the statement if approved, such as an abridged version and targeted resources for clergy, parents, young people, and so on.

"Consider this ... All Saints and Halloween"
Friday, October 30, 2015 by Daybreak TV Productions

All Saints and Halloween


Bishop Richard J. Malone will mark the Feast of All Souls by presiding at a committal service for unclaimed cremated remains at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna.

The service will be held on Monday, Nov. 2, at 4 p.m., outside Holy Trinity Mausoleum. The cremated remains will be inurned in an exterior crypt titled Crypt of the Holy Angels with the inscription, “Eternal Rest Grant unto Them O Lord.”

A similar service will be held Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 3 p.m., outside Ascension Chapel Mausoleum at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kenmore, with Msgr. Francis Weldgen presiding.

The cremated remains have been held at area funeral homes for as long as 50 years in some cases. The cremated remains will be catalogued in the event that family members make an inquiry.

Blue Mass honors police, fire and first responders
Monday, October 26, 2015 by Mark Ciemcioch

Hundreds of people donned their navy blue, sky blue, royal blue and other uniform colors as part of the first diocesan Blue Mass, dedicated in honor of local EMS, fire and law enforcement departments of all faiths. Bishop Richard J. Malone thanked all those who served the community during his homily Sunday morning at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.

"You have been called to noble and much needed work for the common good,” he said. "I’m here today to testify that you do that work very, very well. In the name of the Catholic community of Western New York, with my brother priests and deacons, to thank you sincerely for who you are and your service to the community."

The Blue Mass, named in honor of the color of many of the uniforms and shirts first responders wear, has been a Catholic Church tradition for more than 80 years. While the diocese has celebrated various memorial Masses in tribute to certain professions and organizations, this is the first time all first responders were honored specifically.

Bishop Malone called police, fire and EMS workers as protectors of shalom, the Hebrew word for peace.

“Shalom is God’s will for all of the world and humankind,” he said. “Shalom will never be total in this world, because as you all well know better than most, our world is imperfect, as beautiful as it is. It’s flawed (and) we are too.

“Things go wrong. People do bad things. Folks fall ill. Emergencies happen. In a thousand small ways, and sometimes, tragically in large ways, life’s brokenness keeps showing its pained face. When any one of us is thus afflicted by this brokenness, we cry out for help … and you are there. You are there to keep human society safe and human relations civil. You are there to save lives, enforce the law and work for justice. You are there to confront the destructive force of fire and challenge life-threatening illness and trauma. You face every day with a willingness to give your best selves, even in times to risk your lives for the sake of others. We have profound reason to say, ‘Thank you.’”


Violence in Central America continues to drive migration

The United States should end support of Mexican interdiction efforts, says Bishop Seitz

Regional protection system should be instituted and root causes addressed

WASHINGTON— The United States has a moral obligation to protect unaccompanied children and families from persecution in Central America, said Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, October 21. Bishop Seitz is an advisor to the USCCB Committee on Migration and a member of the board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

The humanitarian outflow, driven by organized crime in the northern triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, continues, with nearly 40,000 unaccompanied children and an equal number of mothers with children having arrived in the United States in Fiscal Year 2015.

“If we do not respond justly and humanely to this challenge in our own backyard, then we will relinquish our moral leadership and moral influence globally,” Bishop Seitz said.

Bishop Seitz pointed to the human consequences of U.S. policies which are designed to deter migration from the region, including U.S. support for Mexican interdiction efforts which are intercepting children and families in Mexico and sending them back to danger, in violation of international law.

Bishop leads prayer service at Baby Jesse gravesite
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 by Rick Franusiak, Western New York Catholic

Bishop Malone places flowers at the grave of Baby Jesse. The Knights of Columbus were among the approximately 75 people who attended the prayer service. Pictured above are musicians Gary Mrowka, Mary Jane Hens and Deacon Matt Hens, Office of Pro-Life Director Cheryl Calire, with Bishop Malone, and students from St. Aloysius School, Springville.

Photo by Tim Callahan

Bishop Richard J. Malone referred to Baby Jesse as a “little saint” during a prayer service at St. Mary Cemetery in Dunkirk on Oct. 20.

The prayer service took place at Baby Jesse’s gravesite. Baby Jesse was the male fetus discovered in August 2014 along the shoreline of Lake Erie State Park in Portland, N.Y. Bishop Malone and Cheryl Calire, director of Pro-Life Activities, wanted to make sure the remains of the baby were treated with respect and given an appropriate burial, if no family was found or came forward to do so.

“Notice on the marker there is a little image of an angel,” Bishop Malone said. “Sometimes when a little child dies, people will say, ‘Now he or she is a little angel in heaven.’ Doctrinally, that is not true. You don’t go from being human to an angel. Now Baby Jesse is a little saint. That’s what happens to human beings. It is a beautiful thing to remember. Anyone who dies in God’s love as truly Baby Jesse did, angels are watching over him but he is not one. He is a saint and what a beautiful thought that is. No chance of sin. That’s a blessing we don't have. We have plenty of chances to sin, but Baby Jesse never had it.”

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