BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Diocese has a new Bishop.
Pope Francis made the announcement from the Vatican on Tuesday. He’s the Most Reverend Michael Fisher, who’s an auxiliary bishop of Washington D.C.
Fisher was introduced via a Zoom conference call on Tuesday morning.
“I hope you will call me Bishop Mike,” he said. “The term Father Mike was always endearing to me and I love it.”
Meet Bishop Michael Fisher — the new shepherd of the Buffalo Diocese who was appointed by Pope Francis to replace Bishop Malone, who resigned under pressure one year ago.
“Due to COVID restrictions, my attempts to get there by plane, train and automobiles proved to be impracticable,” Fisher says. “My hope is to travel to Buffalo as soon as possible for a visit before my permanent move.”
The 62-year-old Baltimore native knows he’s taking a over a Diocese under fire. It’s in bankruptcy, buried in a sea of lawsuits filed by victims of sex abuse by priests. He knows the clergy has broken the trust of the faithful.
“Trust has been broken, certainly, because of the clergy abuse, as well as other things,” Fisher says. “I really feel that we need to rebuild that trust through out actions and decisions.”
His Excellency says the days of a church cover-up are over.
“The zero tolerance policy of an abuse of children or the sexual harassment of adults needs to be taken seriously and followed.”
Even though there are so many lawsuits yet to be settled, Bishop Fisher hopes to meet with the survivors of church sex abuse.
“If they allow it, I hope to walk with them in seeking healing,” he says. “To listen and soothe the wounds that have been inflicted on them and lessen the burden they have been forced to carry.”
The installation mass for Bishop Fisher will be on January 15 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.