Hundreds of people braved the cold, snowy weather, and the impending Super Bowl set to begin a few hours later, to attend a Mass of Thanksgiving for Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz's 25th anniversary of Episcopal ordination Sunday afternoon at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.
"I can say it was very overwhelming," Bishop Grosz said following the Mass, which he celebrated. "As I turn 70, I look back and wonder where the years have gone. To know that through them all, I have truly been happy as a priest, happy as a bishop. It's a call to service. This is not my celebration, this is a celebration of Church, a celebration of ministry and a celebration of who we are as God's holy people. The Church is open to all, not just Catholics. We are to proclaim that Gospel of Jesus and bring that Good News to everyone."
Bishop Donald Trautman, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Erie, Pa., used to teach a young Bishop Grosz at the seminary and is one of his co-consecrators. He delivered the homily Sunday for his longtime friend.
"Today's celebration is not about one person," Bishop Trautman said. "In the year 444, Pope Leo the Great preached on the anniversary of his own Episcopal ordination. He said, 'To celebrate a shepherd's anniversary is to honor the whole flock.' God raises up a shepherd not for the shepherd's own benefit, but for the sake of the flock. God gives grace to an individual making him a shepherd, but that grace is for the spiritual welfare of all God's people."
Bishop Richard J. Malone welcomed the audience at the beginning of the Mass.
"It's my happy task to welcome all of you here to our cathedral of St. Joseph as we lift our hearts and voices to God in praise and thanks for the gift of the 25 years of Episcopal ministry of Bishop Edward Grosz," he said.
Presiding over the Mass was Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop emeritus of the archdiocese of New York, who grew to know Bishop Grosz during many of their state-level meetings.
"As long as I've been meeting as a bishop here in the great state of New York, whenever we have prayer, four archbishops in a row have asked Bishop Edward Michael Grosz to lead us in prayer, as he did this past week," Cardinal Egan said. "With all the other accomplishments, perhaps we point to this as the clearest indication of the excellence of this man of God. A thoughtful man, a man always anxious to please, a man who has really given himself totally to the Lord and His Church."
Following Communion, Bishop Grosz presented two roses, representing his late parents Helen and Joseph, to the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa. After Mass, a reception was held at the nearby Adam's Mark Hotel in Buffalo.
For more on this story, including an exclusive interview with Cardinal Egan, read the March edition of the Western New York Catholic.