"A door has been opened, that was being knocked on, you know. For many months now," said Father Dennis Mende of Holy Apostles Parish in Jamestown.
For Mende, on the other side of that open door is Bishop of Albany Edward Scharfenberger.
Scharfenberger was introduced Wednesday as the apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Buffalo, and held a conference call with area priests.
"I think it says to the community that voices are being heard. Even though it's by telephone, you have that sense of personal contact," said Mende.
Mende says the bishop reiterated his call to listen, lead, and guide the diocese.
"He recognizes, I think that the clergy of the diocese have to be invited into that healing process. To have that connection. To recognize there's someone there who is working along with us," said Mende.
Scharfenberger's appointment came as Pope Francis accepted the resignation of now-Bishop Emeritus Richard Malone.
"Initial reaction was relief. Because I personally believe it should have happened, and happened prior to this," said Mende.
"I felt a sense of loss," said Father Darrell Duffy, St. James Parish pastor.
Duffy of St. James in Jamestown served as vicar forane and represented Bishop Malone for Chautauqua County.
"My authority comes from him. When the diocese no longer has a bishop, we are no longer vicar foranes. And so when you lose a bishop, you're losing an essential relationship within a diocese, that is really important," said Duffy.
Duffy, who was not on the conference call, says while he looks forward to seeing what Bishop Scharfenberger is able to do, there are still a lot of unknowns.
"Have a lot of questions in regards to he is not the Bishop, he is a bishop, and so what are the ramifications of that," said Duffy.
As Pope Francis looks to name a new bishop of the Diocese, both pastors here remain hopeful the leader the pontiff will select will build on Bishop Scharfenberger's pledge of more openness and transparency.
"That relates just to more dialogue, open dialogue with the priests and listening to us," said Duffy.
"A sense of compassion for everyone who has been victimized, everyone who's trying to work through a healing process," said Mende.
Mende is hopeful the Vatican could select a new bishop by Easter.