We humans tend to remember where we were or what we were doing at those points in our lives that we received news that we knew would alter the course of history or in the very least mean major changes for our own.
Such an event occurred for the Catholic community of Christ the King in Little Rock (my family included) on Tuesday, November 19 when it was announced that our beloved Papa, the Most Reverend Monsignor Malone was appointed to the position of Bishop of the diocese of Shreveport.
To say that Bishop-Elect Malone has had a profound impact on our lives would be an enormous understatement.
My husband and I were so blessed to receive marriage preparation instruction from him. We believe that the strength of the foundation of our marriage is due, in large part, to the guidance we received from him during that time. Bishop-Elect Malone also presided over our wedding ceremony and the baptisms, first reconciliations, and first communion of our children. He brings an inexplicable peacefulness to the celebration of sacraments, from calming the jitters in the bride and groom-to-be to his mystical baby-whisperer abilities.
Bishop-Elect Malone is the kind of person you go all in for.
He inspires us to be better, to give more, to reach further with his gentle words of encouragement. Like any good Papa, he can be firm when he needs to be, but he also has a phenomenal way of building people up, of filling the cups of so many. He can speak right to your heart, which he does so often through his homilies. He showers his people with love when they need it most.
He leads with what seems to be an endless amount of sacrificial love and generosity. Giving us all a model to follow by doing God’s will first and putting the needs of his parish family before his own.
Every Thanksgiving I can remember since being a member of Christ the King, at the 9am Mass Bishop-Elect has lead the congregation in a cappella song: “Love that is freely given wants to freely be received, all the love you’ve poured on us can hardly be believed, and all we have to offer you is thanks.”
Those words are so fitting as he starts this new chapter of his life.
While we are so proud of him and believe that the Magisterium could not have appointed a more perfect leader, our hearts ache at knowing that he we will no longer be the Papa of the parish he has worked so hard to build and done an immeasurable amount for. We take comfort in knowing that the diocese of Shreveport will love, support, and treasure him as the truly priceless gift from God he is.