Friends, family and faithful of the diocese met at St. Joseph Cathedral to pay respects for Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, a man known for his warmth, his smile and his leadership of the Diocese of Buffalo. Bishop Kmiec, who served as the 13th bishop of Buffalo, died Saturday, July 11 after a short illness.
Msgr. David LiPuma, who served as Bishop Kmiec's priest secretary for eight years, celebrated the rite of reception on July 16 at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo. He chose John 14:1-6 for the Gospel reading. The passage reads:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in Me. In My Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
"Certainly a beautiful place has been prepared for Bishop Kmiec in heaven," Msgr. LiPuma said. "For us who are like Thomas so often in our lives, with everything that is going on today. We wonder where it is all going. We can see ourselves saying, 'Where are you? How will we know?' And Jesus reminds us today to center ourselves once again in Him - the way, the truth, and the light. Bishop Kmiec followed Him all through this life and now to eternal life, and we must do the same to honor him by being faithful to the one who is the way, the truth and the light."
Msgr. LiPuma thanked those who came to the noon service, offering a special welcome to the bishop's family members; his niece Patricia, great-niece Lynn, nephew Henry and his wife Lynn.
"To you and to all the family our deepest sympathies and our heartfelt prayers. I know how much you loved and treasured him, and I know how often, almost daily in conversations, he would speak about his love for you, his family," he said.
Msgr. LiPuma summed up Bishop Kmiec's place in the Buffalo Diocese, which began in 2004, continued well after his 2012 retirement, and left an indelible mark that will be noted for years to come. "Bishop Kmiec was made for us, and he made us a better diocese, he made us a better people. He called us to holiness and he called us to charity and service, his motto," Msgr. LiPuma said.