My column will be brief this month, as I want to leave space for an important statement from the priests who serve our diocese as vicars or members of the Presbyteral Council.
As you may have read, Pope Francis has requested that all of the nearly 300 U.S. Bishops gather for a week long retreat at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago to be held Jan. 2-9, 2019. Pope Francis has even assigned a retreat master: Father Raniero Cantalamessa, a Capuchin Franciscan, who is preacher to the papal household.
The reason for this unprecedented retreat is the crisis we are facing in the United States with the sexual abuse scandal, as well as some division among U.S. bishops about the state and future of Catholicism in the United States. I will be there with my brother bishops, and I ask your prayers that we may come together in unity and determination to move our Church beyond this crisis as we respond to victims and rebuild our Church so that our mission to bring the Good News of Christ to the world may continue to bear fruit.
The only way forward is in unity. Recently, the Holy Father called for prayer that we may come together in a "consoling oneness." That is my prayer for all of us who are part of the Catholic community of Western New York clergy, religious and lay faithful.
God bless you!
Happy New Year!