Bishop Malone discusses visit by Pope Francis

Sep 24, 2015

Pope Francis’ message to the United States is being brought home by Bishop Richard Malone.

WBFO talked with the leader of Western New York’s Catholic Diocese about the pope’s recent addresses to both Congress and clergy.

The pope's speech on Capitol Hill hit hard on a message of unity. He called on Americans to reexamine their actions and to focus on helping the poor and fight income inequality.

Malone noted that the pope also praised the U.S. for embracing people from around the world.

Bishop Richard Malone
Credit File Photo / WBFO News

“He thanked the United States for being such a welcoming church to immigrants. He often refers to his own life as an immigrant and so he talked about how our country has such a diversity of cultures (and all of that) and he thanked us for that.”

The pope previously said that “a shepherd should smell of their sheep”, but he reinforced this message in his address to Clergy this week. Bishop Malone said Pope Francis took a realistic view of the challenges clergymen face in today’s world, but he didn’t allow that to soften his message.

“He said 'I have two recommendations for you all.'  First of all he said be fathers; he said especially be fathers to your priests and be concerned about their spiritual growth and all kinds of things like that. Secondly, and this is a constant theme he came back to is immigrants. Not just recognizing them, but also recognizing the gifts; the special unique gifts that come when people from other lands come here.” 

Malone said he's hopeful that the pope's message of unity might have a lasting impact on a divided Congress and that the papal visit will serve as a catalyst for inspiring more people to seek vocations in the priesthood.

Pope Francis will remain in the U.S. until Sunday night.