Bishop Richard J. Malone celebrated an outdoor Mass for the volunteers of Buffalo's Little Portion Friary on Saturday, Aug. 13. Over three dozen of the homeless shelter's volunteer staff attended the annual Mass and picnic with the bishop.
Little Portion Friary, located on Main Street in Buffalo, is an all volunteer-run shelter for homeless men and women. The staff provides guests with meals, clothing and guidance to help the residents get back on their feet.
"Jesus gives us some real challenges to being His followers," Bishop Malone said in his homily. Recalling his recent trip to Poland for World Youth Day, the bishop mentioned how visiting the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps made him think of Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote 'The Cost of Discipleship" during the rise of Nazism. Bonhoeffer wrote about "cheap grace" that is arrived at without contrition, a grace without carrying a cross, a grace not earned.
There is also a costly grace that comes with answering Jesus' call.
"In other words, not that we have to purchase it, to live in the grace of Christ; to live faithfully in the grace. It will cost us time, it will cost us going out of ourselves, it will cost us, as the Holy Father Francis reminds us, embracing with compassion and accompanying others in their lives who are needy. I think of all that today because Little Portion Friary, with its beautiful history and current ministry, is a beautiful example of exactly that, people who are willing as volunteers, as benefactors; you are people who are willing to be, very intentionally, disciples of Jesus," the bishop said.
He later called the Little Portion Friary ministry a "monument to mercy."
The day offered nice weather for a picnic, which followed the Mass.
The bishop made quite an impression on the volunteers present. "It was wonderful. It meant a lot to me. It's wonderful to be recognized for what we do," said Mary Ann Straney, a volunteer.
"(The bishop's homily) is always great. I look forward to listening to it," added Joe Muhitch, who heard from one of the men in his parish praise the bishop's homily six months after he had delivered it. "He remembered it six months later. He makes quite an impression on us."