Father Todd Remick, pastor of St. Mary of Lourdes parish in Bemus Point, remembered the late Bishop Emeritus of Buffalo Edward Kmiec.
"A joy to be with and spend time with," said Father Remick.
Bishop Kmiec died Saturday night following a brief illness at the age of 84.
"I was saddened by it. I knew his health wasn't great, but I didn't expect this," said Father Remick.
Bishop Kmiec was named and installed as Buffalo's 13th leader of the Diocese in 2004, and during his tenure, ordained Father Remick.
Remick says not only did Bishop Kmiec connect with the local community during confirmation visits, but also met once a year with the priests he ordained.
"To me, he was more of a brother priest. A brother in service, a brother in the ministry. And he was very easy to approach. And to discuss and to talk about various things going on in the parishes," said Father Remick.
"Surprised, because I hadn't realized that his health was in such decline at this time, and then saddened," said Father Dennis Mende, Jamestown’s Holy Apostles Parish pastor.
Father Mende was at the Mass when Bishop Kmiec was installed.
Mende says shortly after, Bishop Kmiec helped SS Peter and Paul Parish in Jamestown celebrate its 150th anniversary.
"Kindness and compassion he had for people. Being outside the metropolitan area of Buffalo, it's always special for people who live a distance away from the See City to have the bishop come and visit," said Father Mende.
Father Mende says Bishop Kmiec helped lead parishes through the journey in faith and grace, a restructuring of Diocese that included closing churches and merging others.
He also joins the list of other bishops past and present facing criticism for mishandling the clergy abuse crisis.
"For not having done enough research, not having done enough outreach to people who have experienced abuse. Not having been as much in front of the situation as could have been," said Father Mende.
"What he did or did not do, as far as the scandal goes, I'm not really familiar about those things back when he was there," said Remick.
Bishop Kmiec resigned in 2012.
The public can pay respects this Thursday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. when Bishop Kmiec’s body will lie in state in the main sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. Joseph on Franklin Street in Buffalo. A funeral will not be open to the public due to the coronavirus, and will instead be livestreamed on Friday at 12 p.m. here.