BUFFALO, N.Y. — "Everywhere I go, not just Catholics, other people who recognize the new Bishop in town, coming up to say, 'hello, welcome.' It is the City of Good Neighbors," said Bishop Richard Malone.
As the Catholic Diocese of the City of Good Neighbors welcomes its 14th Bishop, Bishop Richard J. Malone knows he has his work cut out for him.
Malone was named Bishop of the Portland Maine Catholic Diocese in 2004 - the same year Bishop Kmiec came to Buffalo. Malone says he talked to Bishop Kmiec about some of the issues facing the Diocese.
"He described to me some of the difficult decisions he had to make: the merging of some parishes and the closing of some parishes and schools. I've been through that up in Maine, Boston's going through it. It's not confined to Buffalo," said Bishop Malone.
Bishop Malone says the Catholic Church is trying to address the issue of shrinking parishes around the world with something Pope John Paul the second and Pope Benedict called the "New Evangelization."
"That's the umbrella challenge which means finding every way we can, every creative way we can to try and as Benedict said to "re-propose the Catholic Faith to people," Bishop Malone said.
Bishop Malone says that includes inactive Catholics and the group that's even harder to find in churches today-young people. Malone says he's confident in the church's effort to attract younger Catholics.
"We have some very fine effective outreach programs in our parishes and in the Diocese aimed at teenagers and young adults and I'm very much looking forward to being involved in that," said Bishop Malone.
Despite the challenges facing the Catholic Church locally and around the world, Malone says he has faith the church is strong.
"I just want it to be a message that is encouraging. That yes, we have challenges to face, we've faced them before but together united with one another, united with the Bishop, united around Christ, we can have the hope and the confidence to go forward and begin to rebuild the Catholic Community. That's my message," said Bishop Malone.