Parish remains without a leader – QNS.com

Parish remains without a leader

Two weeks after a Kew Gardens Hills pastor, Rev. Robert McConnin, was fired for having an
inappropriate relationship with a young man, his parish remains without a leader. On Thursday, March 1 a retired Monsignor, John Casey, will step in to lead the St. Nicholas of Tolentine parish until June, when transfers within the Diocese of Brooklyn - which includes Queens County - are generally made.
But even then, parishioners are unsure whether a clergyman will take on the title of pastor, as McConnin had since 1997.
During the six weekend masses on Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11, a letter from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was read to parishioners, stating that a decades-old allegation of misconduct against McConnin was “credible.”
The victim, who called into a Diocese hotline in 2004, stated that he had been involved in an
inappropriate relationship with McConnin, called “Father Bob” by his flock. A Diocese spokesperson said that the victim was not from the St. Nicholas of Tolentine parish.
DiMarzio’s letter stated that the Diocese will
submit its findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican “for its own review and any direction it may wish to provide to our Diocese as to any further action it wishes us to take.”
Although the Queens County District Attorney’s office has been notified of the incident, no charges have yet been filed against McConnin, possibly because the statute of limitations has run out.
In his letter, DiMarzio apologized “on behalf of the Church and in particular of the Diocese of Brooklyn, for the emotional suffering he has endured over these many years.”
DiMarzio’s letter also called on “anyone, who as a minor was the victim of improper behavior by a member of the clergy of this Diocese,” to report the information to the Diocesan toll-free reporting line: 888-634-4499.
“As in the case presented here,” the letter read, “a caller will be treated courteously and with respect.”
DiMarzio also asked parishioners “to pray for the person who came forward with the allegation” and to consider “the good works he [McConnin] has
performed in more than 33 years of his priesthood.”
As a priest on administrative leave, McConnin may not present himself as a priest, celebrate Mass publicly or administer the sacraments, the letter said. However, he is permitted to offer Mass privately.

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