BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - An age-old rite dating back centuries ushered in a new era for the Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo on Friday.
Bishop Richard Malone assumed his role as the spiritual shepherd of more than 600,000 Catholics in western New York. A procession led by cardinals and archbishops led the way to the Installation Mass for the 14th bishop of Buffalo at St. Joseph Cathedral.
PHOTO GALLERY | See photos from the Installation Mass
Along with the bishops and cardinals, more than 200 priests from across the northeast gathered for the installation of Buffalo's new Catholic leader. With the outgoing Bishop Edward Kmiec on one side, and New York's Cardinal Edward Egan on the other, Richard Malone took his seat as Buffalo's bishop.
More than a thousand Catholics filled the cathedral to welcome the former Bishop of Portland, Maine, who wasted no time urging the flock to stand up against abortion and gay marriage.
Bishop Malone said, "We need the martyrs' conviction and courage, tenacity and selflessness, and yes, hope to stand up in our increasingly relativistic society in defense of these truths and values that are so threatened in our time."
FULL VIDEO | Watch the full Installation Mass for Bishop Malone
One Catholic group came all the way from New Jersey to serenade the procession outside the cathedral.
Jack of the New Catchumenal Way said, "That's why we came to Buffalo, because we came here for Father Nelson Baker. We visited this morning his tomb and we asked him for help and graces for all of these young people and we connected the timing with the installation of the new bishop so that we could come and also welcome him."
After mass, hundreds lined up to meet the new bishop at a reception at the Hyatt Regency.
Bishop Malone said, "Sometimes we focus on the minority of the Catholic population that has kind of fallen away. We forget the strong majority who are very much with us and they were here today."
Asked what his single biggest challenge will be, Bishop Malone said "re-Energizing the faith of the Catholic people in every way," and he says he needs all hands on deck for that mission.
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