Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone released the following statement Wednesday:
"It is with profound gratitude to God that I welcome the election of Pope Francis.
"This is a moment of tremendous grace, demonstrating our most important Catholic conviction, that he is a man selected through the intercession of the Holy Spirit to shepherd the church for years to come.
"As the first Holy Father from the Americas, I was impressed with Pope Francis' humility and spontaneity as he began his first blessing to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, by asking everyone to pause in silent prayer, to pray for him and bless him. That was a powerful moment.
"I ask the faithful of the Diocese of Buffalo to join me united in prayer as the papacy of Francis begins. May God bless and guide this humble servant as he leads the Universal Catholic Church."