Students Enjoy Breakfast with Bishop Malone

‘Breakfast with the Bishop’ was all the buzz among the students of St. John the Baptist School in Kenmore.  The Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, attended the breakfast immediately following Mass he celebrated, in honor of Catholic Schools Week.  Twenty randomly selected students were chosen to dine in the school’s library with Bishop Malone, along with Rev. Ryszard Biernat, Pastor Michael Parker, Rev. Dawid Krzeszowski, and Deacon Jim Waggoner.
The idea stemmed from Bishop Malone’s visit last year according to Principal Cynthia Jacobs.  “Bishop Malone sincerely expressed his love of being among the children, having himself been a former teacher,” says Jacobs.  “Last year, we had a breakfast gathering where the Bishop met with our faculty and staff, thanking them for their service to Catholic education and furthering joint mission.  In considering this year, we thought what could be better than providing the opportunity for our children to speak with the Bishop in a smaller, more relaxed setting.” 
Jacobs reports that all students wrote their names on a ballot-type slip of paper and one representative from each homeroom was randomly selected to dine with the Bishop. “As I read the names over the announcements last Friday, I could hear squeals and clapping from the hallways—the excitement was palpable!”  Jacobs indicates that all students from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8 attended Mass to hear the Bishop’s special message, along with their families, friends, and parishioners.
“The children were fairly at ease with the Bishop,” says Jacobs.  “He possesses that innate quality of putting people at ease.  I’ve always been impressed with how approachable Bishop Malone is with everyone he encounters regardless of age!”  The Bishop ate breakfast at one of four tables, but spent time with the students at each of the other tables, too.  Jacobs said she heard some interesting questions being asked about his life as a priest and bishop, his hobbies, and even his pet dog, Timon, named after the Most Rev. John Timon, the first Bishop of Buffalo.  Jacobs said when one student asked what the best part of his day was, he simply said, “Honestly, being right here doing this.  I love being among the people and children and hearing all the great things happening here!”   
Jacobs concludes, “We are grateful that he was able to celebrate Catholic Schools Week at St. John’s with ‘Breakfast with the Bishop!”  It’s important to recognize that Catholic schools are unique—we’re able to speak about God and our faith openly with children.  I am proud that we are able to gather for Mass with him and pray together, and I’m proud of the vibrancy and faith among our students and faculty!  Having Bishop Malone pray with us, enjoy breakfast, and spend some time in our classrooms was a wonderful way to celebrate our Catholic faith and school family!”