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Bishop Fisher welcomes interfaith community and civic leaders to cathedral

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Bishop Michael W. Fisher welcomed those who work in public service, members of other Christian denominations and faiths, permanent deacons and their families to St. Joseph Cathedral on Thursday night for a Solemn Vespers service. 

“It’s wonderful for us to gather as we honor this week as Christian Unity Week,” Bishop Fisher said.

Rev. Dr. G. Stanford Bratton, executive director for the Network of Religious Communities, opened the service by welcoming Bishop Fisher to the Buffalo area. Bratton said, “We have a storied history of ecumenical and interfaith cooperation here in Western New York and we hope you’ll be a part of that community and join as we face the myriad challenges that face our community and the ecumenical community.”

The cooperation goes back to 1857. Bratton highlighted many of the historical actions the group had taken on, from the plight of African-Americans struggling during the depression of the 1930s to the September 11 tragedy, when the group came together for a special service of remembrance for the victims of the attack. 

The Network of Religious Communities is an inter-religious/ecumenical organization of denominations and religious organizations located in Western New York.

“We welcome you as a part of the interfaith and ecumenical community of Western New York. We hope to see you on many different occasions as we work together to build a much better community than we have now. We can celebrate so many things and beyond saying, ‘Go Bills!’” Bratton said.

In his remarks Bishop Fisher said, “I have been so impressed by the warmth of Buffalonians and those from across the region. The many expressions of kindness and prayers of support and encouragement have been a blessing as I join the work as pastor and shepherd.”

Members of many religious faiths join Bishop Michael Fisher in Solemn Vespers for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at St. Joseph Cathedral. Patrick McPartland/Managing Editor

Bishop Fisher talked about how the diocese and people of faith need to do their part to keep others safe, “Especially those most vulnerable who experience the harshest effects of this virus,” Fisher said. “We need to care for one another. Console one another. Especially those who bear such sorrow and loss. To be mindful of the needs of family members, friends neighbors and strangers alike.” 

To collaborate and invite new ideas is how Bishop Fisher approaches things. “Our first inclinations as Catholics and faith partners is to ask ‘What can we do to help?’ ” Fisher said. “This is who we are as a faith community.” 

Along with being a faith community, Bishop Fisher said that as citizens we have an obligation to share what we have and work for as many as possible. He looked forward to uniting ideas and combining resources to create an impact for good in our society. 

Bishop Fisher hopes to reach out to others in the community to make a positive impact. “I want to play an active part in the good work that we do here in an ecumenical and interfaith way and pledge to be available to you,” the bishop said. “May this first meeting, this first time of prayer indeed be the beginning of a wonderful and beautiful relationship.”

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