It stands more than seven feet tall and catches the eyes of those Kenmore Avenue commuters who pass by the front of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. The new marble based, bronze statue of the school's founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, was blessed Tuesday morning by Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, who noted that when the church blesses a picture or statue and presents it for public veneration for the faithful, it does so for the following reasons:
That when we look at the representation of those who have followed Christ faithfully, we will be motivated to seek that city that is to come.
That we will learn the way that will enable us most surely to attain complete union with Christ.
That as we struggle along with our earthly cares, we will be mindful of the saints, those friends and co-heirs of Christ who are also our own brothers and sisters.
That we will remember how they love us, are near to us, intercede ceaselessly for us and are joined to us in a marvelous communion.
In 1861, Bishop John Timon, the first bishop of Buffalo, asked six Christian Brothers to come to Buffalo to open St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in what is now downtown Buffalo. In 1949, St. Joe's moved to its current location on Kenmore Avenue.
"This is a pretty special mission here in Buffalo," said SJCI President, Robert Scott. "The new statue of St. John Baptist de La Salle is really a recognition to us first, but to all of Western New York, of the continuance of this very unique and very special Lasallian mission here in our diocese and it will continue at least for another 155 years."
Before blessing the statue, Bishop Malone celebrated Mass to mark the start of the new school year. "I beg you to never forget this," he told nearly 800 boys gathered in the gymnasium. "God's love never fails us. God's love is consistent, unwavering, unconditional and unstoppable." Bishop Malone stressed that the essence of being a Christian is our relationship with the Lord. "It's a relationship of trust, affection, commitment, loyalty, kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, mercy, helpfulness, encouragement, support, strength and protection. That's the essence of our relationship with the Lord, that's meant to overflow in the lives of one another as brothers and sisters. That's what it's all about for us."
Learn more about St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute here: www.sjci.com