Party Leaders Recognize Buffalo’s Close Ties to Late Pontiff
Washington, DC—On Wednesday evening, April 6, Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-27) was called upon by the House’s Democratic leadership to manage caucus members’ time in offering remarks on the House floor to honor the passing of the late Pope John Paul II.
Earlier this week, Higgins was the first member of the House to file a Congressional resolution honoring the late pontiff.
Higgins anchored the one-hour remarks period known formally as “Special Orders,” which are conducted at the end of each business day in the House. During Special Orders, each party caucus is responsible for up to one hour of debate on a topic of their choosing. Because of his keen interest in international affairs and his steadfast support of the Polish-American community, Higgins was selected to manage the Democrats’ time.
“Western New York’s connection to Pope John Paul II was incredibly profound, with and although the connection was strongest among our region’s Polish-American community, it was very strongly felt in parishes and communities throughout the region,” said Higgins. “Pope John Paul II was a tremendous leader who sought peace and harmony among his flock and throughout the world, and the world now prays for new leadership for the church that will continue his legacy,” Higgins added.
“We thank Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins and Republican Congressman Henry Hyde for the beautiful tribute to Pope John Paul II on the floor of the United States House of Representatives,” said Brian Rusk, President, General Pulaski Association. This bi-partisan tribute is a beautiful testimony for our beloved Holy Father and our homeland of Poland. It is wonderful that Congressmen Higgins & Hyde paid a wonderful salute to our Saint John Paul II.”
Higgins' own remarks in honor of Pope John Paul II briefly told the story of Karol Josef Wojtyla’s youth in Wadowice, Poland, and recounted his rise to Archbishop of Krakow, his elevation to Supreme Pontiff by the College of Cardinals, and his remarkable achievements during his 26 year pontificate.
Of being asked to manage the Democrats’ remarks on Wednesday, Higgins surmised that the House leadership knew both of his interest in the subject and the strong and faithful link that exists between Western New York and the late pontiff.
“Naturally, it was a tremendous honor to play that role and to honor the most significant church leader of the 20th Century, and one of the most significant church leaders of all time, Pope John Paul II,” Higgins added. “Our church, our nation and the world’s people owe Pope John Paul II an incredible debt of gratitude for his faithful ministry to his flock and for his consistent pursuit of peace around the globe,” Higgins concluded.