A procession of priests, cardinals, archbishops, and bishops led the official installation mass of Richard Malone as the 14th Roman Catholic Bishop of Buffalo Friday afternoon at St. Joseph Cathedral.
The 66-year-old Malone spent eight years as Bishop in Portland, Maine. Pope Benedict XVI selected him in may to succeed retiring Buffalo Bishop Edward Kmiec.
"We come to ask God's blessing upon this new chief shepherd and on the people he will serve," Malone said. "I'm humbly grateful to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for the trust he has placed in me in appointing me bishop of Buffalo."
Malone praised his predecessor, whom he said he has become friends with in a short time.
"You have been the icon of a good shepherd after the heart of Christ. A pastor strong, loving, and wise. The people of God in Western New York love you because they know that you have loved them," he told Kmiec.
"Although you have been only briefly introduced to us and you have spent some time to acquaint yourself with the diocese, we already perceive in you a priestly man of the people with the pastoral attributes we would hope for in our shepherd," said Kmiec to Malone.
"I can assure you that you've come to a wonderful diocese -- a local church of deep faith, ready and able to collaborate with you in evangelization and building the kingdom of God in the vineyard of the Lord."
Malone will stay active in Portland for now as Apostolic Administrator for the diocese while the Vatican searches for a new bishop there. The appointment will allow Malone to continue to lead the church's fight against the legalization of gay marriage in Maine, where a statewide referendum is scheduled for November 6.
You can listen to an interview Bishop Malone conducted this week with WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley.