BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The Diocese of Buffalo announced Tuesday morning that the Most Reverend Richard Malone would be taking over for Bishop Edward Kmiec.
It is a story you saw first on "Eyewitness News This Morning."
"My profound gratitude to our Holy Father Benedict XVI for his trust in me, in appointing me to oversee this vibrancy of Buffalo," Most Reverend Richard Malone said.
Malone will be installed as the 14th Bishop of Buffalo at St. Joseph's Cathedral on August 10th. He comes to Buffalo from Portland, Maine where he served as Bishop since 2004. He said one of the biggest issues he will face is the economic challenge here in Western New York. He said he has experience.
"I come from a state that is also beautiful, but very challenged economically. We have lost a lot of industries there. That is why we put a lot of emphasis on Catholic Charities to reach out to people who need us," Malone said.
Now, Malone is taking the place of Kmiec who has been overseeing the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo since 2004. By church law, Kmiec submitted his resignation letter on his 75th birthday, which was back on June 4th. It took nearly a year for the Vatican to find a replacement. Kmiec said it was a lengthy process.
"They ask you to give a profile of the diocese as you have learned it, and also put up a profile of what you think the challenges are, and what kind of Bishop he should be," Kmiec said.
Church officials said Kmiec was leading during a challenging time for the Diocese. Kmiec calls it the "Journey of Faith and Grace", a revitalization and downsizing of the local Catholic system because of declining populations, mass attendance and financial resources. It closed or merged nearly 100 parishes in the area.
"We have done the proper, necessary but not easy, work to somehow reconfigure ourselves to what we are at this particular time," Kmiec said.
Kmiec is also credited with saving St. Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga, after a state committee ordered the facility to be closed. Now, Kmiec said he will retire, but will remain in the Western New York area working as a priest on a part-time basis.