The tradition of celebrating the diocesan Family Mass the Second Sunday of Advent continued on Dec. 7, when Bishop Richard J. Malone presided at St. Gabriel Church in Elma. Until 2013, the Mass was celebrated at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo, but is now celebrated in parishes.
Before the start of the Mass, I saw a steady stream of happy faces," Bishop Malone said as he opened the Mass. "That is a sign of vitality in this parish."
With children of the parish gathered at his feet for the homily, Bishop Malone talked about the upcoming visit to the United States by Pope Francis, who will attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in late September 2015.
"Our Church these days is very, very focused on the beauty and importance of families," Bishop Malone said. "It's hard to imagine what life would be like without the love of families."
The bishop noted Pope Francis wants the Church throughout the world to find better ways to deal with the difficulties and challenges faced by families. "He has acknowledged the family's journey is sometimes a mountainous trek with hardships and falls. The Holy Father has thanked families for their faithfulness, love and hope.
"I thank you for the difference you make in the life of your parishes, and the difference you make in the world," Bishop Malone said. "One of the most important things families do is to teach us about God. You parents, grandparents and others, are really being John the Baptist's to your families. What's important of JOhn the Baptist, the work of baptism and evangelism is to point other people to Jesus. That's what family life of Catholics is about, so that we might know the treasure that it is to have Jesus as our friend, our Lord, who trusts us enough to follow Him."