About a hundred employees of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo spent the day at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora on Wednesday. It was the second annual 'Day of Reflection', initiated by Bishop Richard J. Malone as a way to bring employees closer together in prayer and reflection as a reminder of how they are indeed working for God and the Church.
The keynote speaker was Sister Margaret Carney, OSF, who will be retiring as president of St. Bonaventure University at the end of July. Sister Margaret showed her vast knowledge of Franciscan ministry by explaining connections between Pope Francis and his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, whose life in the Middle Ages was a time of transition from a 'poor world' to an Era of Reform in society and in the Church. It was a time when society, in what we now know as Europe, was transitioning from a feudal world order to a commercial re-awakening in which people were embracing the idea that perfection could be reached by all Christians, and not just the hierarchy of the Church.
"The hopes that had been developing needed the right lay leadership, the right pope, and the right advocates in the curia to become full-fledged," said Sister Margaret, who noted how St. Francis often showed amazing courage by challenging the status quo and arranging meetings with other world leaders who may have been considered threats to Christianity. In this Year of Mercy, Sister Margaret challenged the audience to ponder why Pope Francis chose his name and how he has already shown similar boldness in his words and actions toward addressing modern day politics, terrorism and the everyday understanding of the Catholic Church.
Bishop Malone celebrated a morning prayer service in the St. John Vianney Chapel followed by an afternoon Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction. There was a also a period of reflection where Diocesan employees were encouraged to walk the grounds of the 132 acre seminary to consider how to put some of the day's words into action in their homes, workplaces, and communities.
While the primary mission of Christ the King Seminary is to give men of faith the foundation to become priests and deacons, the campus in East Aurora, offers college courses, retreats and lectures to the general public. Last year, 10,000 people visited the scenic property on Knox Road. For more information visit http://www.cks.edu/