Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin, auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Buffalo, will celebrate his 100th birthday at Noon on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, with a special Mass that will be celebrated at St. John the Baptist Church in Kenmore, where he served as pastor in the 1970s and is now pastor emeritus.
The principal celebrant of the Mass will be Bishop Richard J. Malone. Bishop Donald W. Trautman, bishop emeritus of Erie and a native of Buffalo, will give the homily. Concelebrants will include Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, bishop emeritus of Buffalo, Bishop Edward M. Grosz, auxiliary bishop of Buffalo, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, bishop of Syracuse and apostolic administrator of Rochester, Bishop Matthew H. Clark, bishop emeritus of Rochester and priests of the Diocese of Buffalo.
"Bishop McLaughlin's presence and his holy priesthood have been a blessing to the Church of Buffalo," Bishop Malone said. "He has always been a beautiful example of selfless, dedicated service to the people of God, and I pray that our Heavenly Father will continue to provide our dear bishop with good health and abundant blessings."
Bishop McLaughlin is the sixth oldest living bishop in the world, and the second oldest bishop in the United States. Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark is four months older that Bishop McLaughlin. Over the course of his lifetime, 11 bishops have led the Diocese of Buffalo, from Bishop Charles H. Colton to Bishop Malone.
During that same time span, there have been nine popes, from Pius X to Benedict XVI.
In 2009, Bishop McLaughlin reflected upon his priesthood, telling the Western New York Catholic, "It's a wonderful life and has remarkable rewards for those who accept the challenge of priesthood and faithfully live it out."
The son of the late Michael Henry McLaughlin and Mary Agnes Curran McLaughlin, Bishop McLaughlin was born in North Tonawanda. One of seven children, he attended Visitation School in Buffalo and was a member of the first graduating class of the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary in Buffalo.
He was ordained to the priesthood in Vatican City on Dec. 21, 1935, and celebrated 75 years as a priest in 2010. His assignments included St. Joseph New Cathedral, he was founding pastor of Coronation Parish in Buffalo, he served as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Tonawanda and St. John the Baptist Parish in Kenmore. He was assigned to the diocesan Tribunal, served as diocesan chancellor and between the episcopacies of Bishop James A. McNulty and Bishop Edward D. Head, Bishop McLaughlin was diocesan administrator for six months.
Pope Paul VI ordained him a bishop at the Vatican on Jan. 6, 1969, making him the first priest of the Diocese of Buffalo to be ordained a bishop by the Holy Father. On Jan. 15, 1988, Pope John Paul II accepted his letter of resignation, at which time Bishop McLaughlin became auxiliary bishop emeritus of Buffalo.
In retirement, Bishop McLaughlin presided at countless confirmations throughout the eight counties of Western New York and continued to celebrate daily Mass at St. Timothy Church in Tonawanda well into his 90s.
"I am especially grateful for the gift of priesthood," Bishop McLaughlin said.