AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s a momumental moment for the Catholic Church as Pope Francis announces the creation of a commission to look into the possibility of having women ordained as deacons.

“The study will involve both the historical and theological points of view,” said Monsignor Robert Zapfel, the pastor at St. Leo the Great in Amherst.

Pope Francis has been hailed by many as a progressive church leader so the local monsignor at St. Leo isn’t shocked he is the one coming forward with this study.

“He knows the needs of the church in a different perspective than other people,” said Monsignor Zapfel.

The pastor describes a deacon’s role includes various responsibilities including service and charity work, something the Monsignor says is a major need in the Church right now.

“The church is working to stay relevant,” said Monsignor. “We’re best at being relevant in a society where we’re serving others.”

The Pope’s commission consists of 12 people – six men and six women. One of those women is a New York-based scholar. The monsignor anticipates it can take between six and 18 months for the study to be conducted.