It stands more than seven feet tall and catches the eyes of those Kenmore Avenue commuters who pass by the front of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. The new marble based, bronze statue of the school's founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, was blessed Tuesday morning by Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, who noted that when the church blesses a picture or statue and presents it for public veneration for the faithful, it does so for the following reasons:
That when we look at the representation of those who have
followed Christ faithfully, we will be motivated to seek that city that is to come.
That we will learn the way that will enable us most surely
to attain complete union with Christ.
That as we struggle along with our earthly cares, we will be
mindful of the saints, those friends and co-heirs of Christ who are also our
own brothers and sisters.
That we will remember how they love us, are near to us,
intercede ceaselessly for us and are joined to us in a marvelous communion.
In 1861, Bishop John Timon, the first bishop of Buffalo,
asked six Christian Brothers to come to Buffalo to open St. Joseph's Collegiate
Institute in what is now downtown Buffalo. In 1949, St. Joe's moved to its
current location on Kenmore Avenue.
"This is a pretty special mission here in Buffalo," said
SJCI President, Robert Scott. "The new statue of St. John Baptist de La Salle is
really a recognition to us first, but to all of Western New York, of the continuance of this
very unique and very special Lasallian mission here in our diocese and it will
continue at least for another 155 years."
Before blessing the statue, Bishop Malone celebrated Mass to
mark the start of the new school year. "I beg you to never forget this," he told
nearly 800 boys gathered in the gymnasium. "God's love never fails us. God's
love is consistent, unwavering, unconditional and unstoppable." Bishop Malone
stressed that the essence of being a Christian is our relationship with the
Lord. "It's a relationship of trust, affection, commitment, loyalty, kindness,
thoughtfulness, compassion, mercy, helpfulness, encouragement, support,
strength and protection. That's the essence of our relationship with the Lord,
that's meant to overflow in the lives of one another as brothers and sisters.
That's what it's all about for us."
Learn more about St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute here: www.sjci.com