BUFFALO — The new bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, Bishop Michael W. Fisher, will be installed with a Mass at 2 p.m. Jan. 15 in St. Joseph Cathedral.
The installation Mass will be an invitation-only event and will be live-streamed on the diocesan website, www.buffalodiocese.org.
Preceding the Mass, an evening prayer vigil will take place at 5 p.m. Jan. 14 with diocesan priests and Fisher at the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory.
The installation Mass will adhere to prevailing COVID restrictions as mandated by the Erie County Department of Health, which necessitates restricting attendance only to specially-invited guests, and the requirement of social distancing and the wearing of facial masks.
The Mass will begin with a procession of priests and deacons at 2 p.m. followed by cardinals, archbishops and bishops. Among the attendees will be Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, who will preside over the installation; Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.; Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States; and Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, Apostolic Administrator of the Buffalo Diocese and bishop of the Diocese of Albany.
The Rite of Installation will include the reading of Pope Francis’ Apostolic letter of appointment by Pierre. Representatives from diocesan organizations and schools, and religious houses of the diocese, as well as inter-religious leaders, will greet Fisher during the liturgy.
Fisher, the Washington, D.C. auxiliary bishop, was appointed Dec. 1 by Francis as the 15th bishop of the Buffalo diocese.
He fills the position left empty since December 2019, when former Bishop Richard Malone resigned amid calls for his ouster from his staff, priests and public over his handling of allegations of clergy sexual misconduct.
When appointed, Fisher said that while the “challenges that currently confront the Diocese of Buffalo are many and significant, they are not equal to the resolve of so many committed lay women and men, devoted priests, deacons and religious across Western New York, who are no less determined to reveal God’s transformative love that has the power to bind every wound, renew and make us whole.”
Fisher, 62, a native of Baltimore and the oldest of five children, was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal James A. Hickey on June 23, 1990.
In 2005, Fisher was named a chaplain to Pope John Paul II (a distinction that entails the title of “monsignor”), and was appointed that same year as Vicar General for the Apostolates, which entailed overseeing archdiocesan ministries for education, ethnic ministries, social justice and service, parish life and youth ministry. The following year, Fisher was appointed Vicar for Clergy and Secretary for Ministerial Leadership, with responsibility for vocations, formation and care of the clergy for the archdiocese.
Upon the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory (now Cardinal Wilton Gregory) in 2019, Fisher maintained his responsibilities as Secretary for Ministerial Leadership.
Named an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington by Francis on June 8, 2018, Fisher was ordained to the episcopate on June 29, 2018, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.