In all likelihood this will be my last column for the
Western New York Catholic. I would wish again to follow the example of
Saint Paul, when he closes his Epistle to the Romans with a long litany
naming the people for whom he is especially grateful. If I were to do
that, however, this column would evolve into the longest ""Who's Who" in
the history of the United States.
I have been expressing my
gratitude individually to many of you in recent weeks by mail,
telephone, and personal meetings. I will continue to do so in the time
remaining before departing for Hartford. It is impossible, nonetheless,
to reach all with individual messages.
Please allow me by means of
this column to thank you all now, both individually and collectively as
members of our wonderful diocesan family. I thank God for you and I
thank you for being you.
I have been fortunate to follow Bishop
Edward Head and all the previous bishops of Buffalo. The diocese is
strong pastorally, educationally, social service wise, health care wise,
and financially. The parishes, schools, religious education programs,
Catholic Charities and the other social service agencies, the Catholic
Health System and other Catholic health providers are a tribute to your
outstanding generosity in financial giving and personal involvement.
look to the future now, and all these structures and people are
enormous reasons for hope. The next bishop will have his challenges to
face, but he will be fortunate indeed with the strength of the diocese.
institutions and programs are motives for hope, but our hope is rooted
more deeply on fundamental wonders. I see inspiration for hope in you.
You are signs of life which overwhelm the harsh realities of destruction
The priest who works diligently every day,
undeterred by the national scandal of clergy sexual abuse - albeit
involving a minuscule percentage of the priests - is a sign of life and a
reason for hope.
The parent who is up all night with a sick child, in the hospital or at home, is a sign of life and a reason for hope.
The husband or wife who takes care of a bedridden spouse for years is a sign of life and a reason for hope.
teenager who volunteers in a soup kitchen, a food pantry, or a
religious education program for younger children, and sees all of this
integrated with participation in Mass on Sunday, is a sign of life and a
reason for hope.
The parent in difficult economic times who
scrapes to make ends meet, including tuition bills, is a sign of life
and a reason for hope.
The contemplative religious nun, who prays and sacrifices for all of us, is a sign of life and a reason for hope.
deacon who works a full-time job, tends to his family, and still
dedicates himself to parish and service agency ministry, is a sign of
life and a reason for hope.
The religious sister or priest, who
teaches in school and whose presence makes an impact far beyond the
academic, is a sign of life and a reason for hope.
who comes to Mass daily or who makes a visit to the Blessed Sacrament
to commune with God, is a sign of life and a reason for hope.
The volunteer who makes parish life more effective or a homeless shelter stronger, is a sign of life and a reason for hope.
The doctor or nurse who brings healing and the promise of a brighter future is a sign of life and a reason for hope.
The Catholic who sees Sunday Mass as the source and summit of all our Christian life is a sign of life and a reason for hope.
list is clearly not exhaustive, but I pray that it suggests the
hundreds of thousands of people in Western New York who are signs of
life and reasons for hope, and the motivation for enormous gratitude on
As people of faith we know that all our life and all our
hope are rooted in Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments, in redemption
and eternal life. Thank you for the countless ways you exercise that
faith. I will not say "Good-bye," only "Until we meet again."
the meanwhile my prayer for you continues, as taken from the words of
Saint Paul: "May God enlighten your innermost vision that you may know
the great hope to which He has called you, the wealth of His glorious
heritage to be distributed among the members of the Church, and the
immeasurable scope of His power in those who believe." (Ephesians
Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell
Bishop of Buffalo
November 27, 2003