H/T to Greg Tucker, Communications Director of the Diocese of Buffalo, who sent this my way.

Buffalo today got a new bishop, Michael Fisher — who in his homily offered the following words of consolation, history and hope to a bruised flock:

“We must be ever mindful of those who have turned away – not because of any failing on their part – but because they have been deeply harmed by the sin and failing of those they trusted most. Those who have suffered abuse, whose voices have not been sufficiently heard, and whose pain has not been eased – these brothers and sisters we must find a way to lead – or simply to invite – back to the Church that has failed them. To all who have suffered and continue to feel like they no longer belong or have a place within the family that once nurtured their faith and contributed to their identity, I pledge to listen; to comfort however I can; to understand as best I am able; and to exert every effort within my capacity to be an instrument of your healing.

A previous bishop of this Diocese – Bishop William Turner – who stood in this same place at his installation offered words that very closely resemble my sentiments these 102 years later:

‘Today your bishop can only promise, and ask you to believe that his promises come sincerely from his heart. You deserve the very best that he can give you. … On his part, as I say, he can only promise. He can promise co-operation in all your good works and enterprises; he can promise to be henceforth a sharer in your civic and religious activities, and more than that, a leader in all that you undertake to accomplish for God and country and the welfare of your city. This leadership will not be founded on any gifts that he may personally possess, but on the traditional and divinely-given constitution of the Church.’

And so, let us now begin our journey together, moving forward arm-in-arm, in a spirit of fraternal love and support in the work of rebuilding. Let us again recall the words of the prophet Jeremiah in today’s first reading, who assures us that we have every reason to be confident and hopeful – assured that what God has begun in us and through us, he will bring to sure completion.”

Read it all.

And find more about the new bishop’s installation here. 

Ad multos annos!