"I believe that our victim survivors, they are our family. They're a part of us. And 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," explains Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, Buffalo Diocese Apostolic Administrator.
Many Catholics expressed relief after Bishop Richard Malone resigned. This after months of Malone being accused of covering up for priests and mishandling the sex abuse crisis.
"I'm here to see how my family of survivors can start to trust the church again. How do we get to this place?" asks Michael Whalen, survivor and advocate.
Last December, the Movement to Restore Trust gathered 150 Catholics to develop reform recommendations for the Diocese of Buffalo. The reports were released to the public last July; however, in September, the MRT stated that further progress couldn't be made until Bishop Malone resigned.
Saturday morning, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger met with 175 people at Canisius College for the Movement to Restore Trust Community Symposium. It's the first public event Scharfenberger has attended since his appointment as apostolic administrator.
"Us survivors and the laity need to see that you Bishop Ed can clean up this house called the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. You say we are family, so please take care of your children because the other bishop did not," states Whalen.
During the symposium, people heard from Bishop Scharfenberger, the MRT Organizing Committee and a clergy sex abuse survivor. Then all community members in attendance were able to weigh in on their thoughts about how to restore trust in the Catholic Church through a text-in method and small group discussions.
People say some of the steps needed to restore trust include working to bring back more youth in the church.
"You know what my biggest concern through this whole year of turmoil that the church has been in is that I go to 10:30 mass and there's 100 people there and I'm the youngest one. That can't sustain the church," says Nancy Ware, MRT Organizing Committee.
Other suggestions to restore faith involve releasing files of all quote, "bad priests," making them leave, and creating a task group of professionals not affiliated with the church to help victims heal. Bishop Scharfenberger says he was there listening and taking the thoughts to heart.