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Newly appointed bishop attends community symposium with parishioners

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Posted at 3:51 PM, Dec 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-07 15:51:21-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In his first public appearance at an event hosted by the Movement to Restore Trust, newly appointed Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said he's here to listen and heal.

One hundred and seventy-five parishioners attended a community symposium Saturday morning at Canisius College's Montante Cultural Center.

Parishioners were asked what qualities they think are necessary qualities in the next bishop, and what they think should be done in the path forward.

Bishop Scharfenberger urged sex abuse survivors to share their ideas on how to establish trust.

"While we don't want to burden them with yet one more burden, they have a tremendous invitation, shall I say, to feel a part of the healing mission," he said.

Sex abuse survivor and advocate Michael Whalen said one way to do that is to release the files on all the "bad" priests.

"Don't pay my abuser who has admitted to hurting a couple of dozen kids. And he sits in his cabin with no accountability," he said.

As parishioners participated in dialogue and shared ideas, some said they felt a new sense of hope with the new leadership.

"He actually worked the aisle and he came up and shook my hand," said Michael Pitek. "It's just so wonderful and I think the time to heal, the time to figure out how we rejuvenate our parishes, how we restore trust and how we bring people back who might have left."