Bishop Richard J. Malone stepped off the plane in Buffalo on Friday for the start of a busy several days, which will be capped by his installation as the 14th bishop of Buffalo.
Malone, who has been bishop of the Diocese of Portland, Maine, since 2004, was welcomed to his new home by a small contingent of diocesan officials and schoolchildren waiting for him Friday afternoon at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
“Hello, everybody,” Malone said, as he shook hands with students from Catholic Academy of West Buffalo and St. Benedict School in Eggertsville. “It’s great to be back. It’s great to be with you.”
Malone was appointed May 29 to succeed Bishop Edward U. Kmiec. He has since visited Buffalo and been introduced to the public, but Friday he was back for good.
“This is the first time in my life I’ve ever purchased a one-way ticket,” Malone said during a brief news conference at the airport. “So I’m here to stay — unless you throw me out.
“I am very, very grateful that I have been sent here to be with you,” added Malone, 66, “and I look forward to getting to know you in the years ahead.”
Malone said that one of his first orders of business will be to get more familiar with Western New York. He will travel around the diocese so he can listen and learn.
“I am a lifelong New Englander,” Malone said, “and I really have a lot to learn about Western New York, in general, and the Catholic Church here that is the Diocese of Buffalo.”
Even though he’s not officially Buffalo’s bishop until next Friday, Malone will jump into his duties over the next few days.
He will attend Mass this afternoon at the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga, where a chapter of Felician Sisters is meeting, said Buffalo diocesan spokesman Kevin A. Keenan.
Malone will preside over evening prayer with diocesan and religious order priests Thursday in St. Louis Church at Main and Edward streets.
His installation, which will be for only invited guests with tickets due to limited seating, will take place Friday in St. Joseph’s Cathedral, 50 Franklin St.
“Last, but not least,” Malone said, “I have a lot of boxes to unpack.”
(c)2012 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)
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