Bishop Edward M. Grosz, auxiliary bishop of Buffalo, celebrates the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination this month. In honor of Bishop Grosz, we are celebrating him all week with a series of stories about his ministry prior to his anniversary Mass Sunday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral. All are welcome.
As auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, Bishop Grosz has frequently made a point of working together with other Catholic churches to share dialogue and bond through their shared beliefs and practices. Since 1987, Bishop Grosz has served as a liaison between his own diocese and the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and worked with the church in both Buffalo and Stamford, Conn.
Bishop Emeritus Basil H. Losten, the bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford who served until his retirement in 2006, said last month that he attended Bishop Grosz' consecration in Buffalo on Feb. 2, 1990. The two men were members of the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the collective voice of U.S. bishops in encouraging laws that reflect the teachings of the Church.
"All bishops that work in New York State belong to the New York State Catholic Conference," Bishop Emeritus Losten explained. "There, we worked together on the various programs and projects where we could possibly help and support each other."
Since Bishop Grosz is auxiliary bishop of Buffalo and Bishop Emeritus Losten lives in Stamford, which is close to 350 miles away, Bishop Emeritus Losten asked Bishop Grosz to assist him with some of the Ukrainian Catholic parishes in the Buffalo area, since the parishes in the Buffalo area fall under the jurisdiction of the Eparchy of Stamford. Bishop Grosz was "all too happy to do that."
"I wrote to the congregation of priests and churches in Rome to give him the privilege of serving in the Eastern tradition," Bishop Emeritus Losten said. "He learned and performed well and still does, in celebrating the liturgy, helping out in the parishes when he has the time. Any time there was any kind of an occasion to go up to Buffalo, we would get together and collaborate. We became very good friends."
In serving the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Bishop Grosz was a substitute for Bishop Emeritus Losten, and currently Bishop Paul P. Chomnycky, for when the Bishop of Stamford is needed but not able to be in both Connecticut and the Western New York area at the same time. Bishop Grosz has bi-ritual faculties with the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which means he is a "bishop of the Latin rite, and I obtained for him the privilege of serving in the Byzantine rite of the Catholic Church."
"He learned the liturgy, vespers and so forth, in order to participate and help," Bishop Emeritus Losten said. "If someone was unable to be at a Mass and he was available, he would substitute."
There are five Ukrainian Catholic parishes located in the same territory as that of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo: St. Nicholas in Buffalo, St. John the Baptist in Kenmore, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lackawanna, St. Basil in Lancaster and Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Niagara Falls. Bishop Grosz assisted at some of these, including St. Nicholas and St. John the Baptist, he recalled.
When asked about his experiences with Bishop Grosz, Bishop Emeritus Losten said the relationship between the two men has always been "very cordial" and "amicable," and Bishop Emeritus Losten also considers him to be a good friend. Additionally, he stays very much involved not only in local events, but also participates in national affairs as a member of the United States Catholic Conference, which occasionally requires Bishop Grosz to travel outside of the Western New York area.
"It's important that bishops participate in the conference, which we have twice a year in November and in June," Bishop Emeritus Losten said, adding of Bishop Grosz, "I think it's wonderful to be able to serve the Church for 25 years. Sometimes bishops don't even last more than 10 years."