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Another Voice: Upon This Rock will set Catholic Diocese’s foundation for the future

By Richard J. Malone

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is launching Upon This Rock, a five-year, $100 million capital and endowment campaign to reshape and strengthen the funding of key ministries and programs throughout the eight counties of Western New York.

Upon This Rock will support three essential pillars of the church in our diocese – those we serve, those who serve and how we serve.

This historic initiative will transform the way we support our missions and ministerial works in perpetuity, and move the diocese into the 21st century as a flourishing church that is proud to evangelize and equipped to serve our community. It will also help ensure our ability to continue to effectively carry out the Lord’s mission of service.

While various individual parishes have conducted capital campaigns and increased offertory initiatives over the years, Upon This Rock is the first effort of this size and scope in our more than 150-year history. Funds raised will provide a foundation for transforming the way we tend to the pastoral, educational and social service needs of God’s people in our diocese.

With the partnership of our clergy and lay leaders, each of our 164 parishes will participate in the campaign, and every Catholic household will be asked to consider participation.

Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Buffalo in April 1847, appointing the Very Rev. John Timon as our first bishop. The diocese became home to many Catholic immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland and many other parts of the world. Our predecessors sacrificed to give us what we have today and to help spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

Our diocese now spans nearly 6,500 square miles and numbers more than 600,000 Catholics, including new immigrants and refugees from South American, African and Middle Eastern countries.

As we reflect on all we have been given and what we have built here, we also recognize the past 10 years have presented many challenges. “Journey in Faith and Grace” was a necessary step to restructure our parishes, and “Faith in Tomorrow” represented a painful, but strategic, vision for revitalizing our Catholic elementary schools.

I believe in our church and I have confidence that because of the commitment and sacrifice of our predecessors, and the responsible choices our faithful have made in recent years, the Diocese of Buffalo stands ready to embrace the future.

In the spirit of St. John Neumann, Venerable Nelson Baker and countless others who came before us, we recognize and welcome this opportunity to preserve and build upon the foundation of our church in Western New York.

The Most Rev. Richard J. Malone was installed as the 14th bishop of Buffalo on Aug. 10, 2012.