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Pope Francis on the Joy of Love: A brief appetizer for the Apostolic Exhortation

By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 5/4/2016 9:26 AM

Pope Francis' eagerly awaited apostolic exhortation, fruit of the two Vatican synods on marriage and family, has arrived. It is titled "Amoris Laetitia," or the "Joy of Love." The title, as is the custom with major papal documents, is taken from the text's first line: "The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church." (This sentence is reminiscent of the first line of Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World ("Gaudium et Spes") which reads "The joys and the hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the people of this age ... these too are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ."

While the Holy Father does not avoid the difficulties and challenges experienced in family life - in fact he address them candidly and straight on - "The Joy of Love" is from beginning to end a celebration of the gift of marriage and family to the Church and, indeed, to the world.


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The gift of confession (Have you been lately?)

By Bishop Richard J. Malone 3/2/2016

My confirmation homily this year begins with a question addressed to the confirmands: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  In more direct terms, what is different about my life because I am a Christian, a Catholic?  Can those who know me tell the difference Jesus makes in my life?  Can I?

Lent is the graced season to take an honest look at the authenticity and quality of our discipleship.  How intentional are we in our following of Christ?  How faithful is our living of the Gospel?  How grateful are we for the gift of faith?  How eager am I to share the joy of the Gospel with others?  And ... can I admit that, yes, I am a sinner?


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New Year musings

By Bishop Richard J. Malone 1/5/2016

    The motto for this Jubilee Year of Mercy is, "Merciful like the Father." What will we allow this to mean in our lives? With God? With one another?

    • Vatican II declared: "Upon the Muslims, too, the Church looks with esteem." How dare any American suggest that refugees who profess the faith of Islam be prohibited from entry into the United States solely on that basis? 
    • Studies show that teens who practice the faith most often have parents who practice the faith.
    • Pray for vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, diaconate and Christian marriage!
    • College and university students: seek out and become active in your school's campus ministry community!


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    Take advantage of all the Jubilee Year of Mercy offers

    By Bishop Richard J. Malone 12/17/2015

    I write this month from Baltimore, where the bishops of the United States are gathered for our annual Fall Plenary Meeting.  As we concelebrated the Eucharist early this Sunday morning. I offered Mass for all of you who constitute the community of faith that is the Diocese of Buffalo.  (Did you know that diocesan bishops offer one Mass each Sunday and holy day of obligation pro populo, that is, "for the people," just as pastors are required to do weekly for their parishioners?)

    This Sunday Mass was different for me.  Before I went down to the large hotel meeting room that serves as our chapel, I was watching continuing TV coverage of the horrific massacre in Paris perpetrated by ISIS terrorists and resulting in 129 people killed and 352 injured.  Sitting quietly in the chapel for the half hour before Mass, I struggled to put aside, at least for that next hour, the emotions of shock, anger, sadness and, yes, anxiety that were roiling my soul.


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    Concern for refugees and immigrants

    By Bishop Richard J. Malone 11/23/2015

    We have all been horrified by the senseless terrorist attacks in Paris.  Join me in fervent prayer for victims of the massacre, for justice for ISIS leaders and killers, and for world peace.

    While there have been calls to close our borders to Syrian refugees fleeing the ravages of civil war, we cannot simply close our doors to refugees simply because they are from Syria.  But we must remain vigilant. Careful screening of all who wish to enter this country is needed.

    Pope Francis' concern for refugees and immigrants is very well known, as we see in this recent comment: "Facing the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees - fleeing death by war and famine, and journeying towards the hope of life - the Gospel calls, asking of us to be close to the smallest and forsaken. To give them a concrete hope," he said. "And not just to tell them, 'Have courage, be patient!'"


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