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A recent News article regarding a shortage of Catholic priests caused me to reflect upon what that means to our community. Since Buffalo's founding, the Catholic Church has been a paramount influence. Its churches stood among the bustling factories and vibrant neighborhoods. Its hospitals, schools and social programs served as models, as they remain so today. Political regimes came and went, but the clergy is omnipresent.

Today, as race relations often divide Western New Yorkers, the newest Catholic Church was built not in the suburbs, but on Buffalo's East Side, serving a multicultural population. We may have a current shortage of priests, but the priests we have display no shortage of love and devotion. Catholic or not, a priest has assuredly touched the life of every Buffalo family in a positive way.

As we wax poetic about the Buffalo that used to be, or discuss bridges and buildings, we need also to offer a prayer of thanks to the priests we have and for the young men who may be hearing their call to a Catholic vocation. They are truly Buffalo's future.


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