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Bishop: This is a very painful time

Letter sent by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades:

December 2, 2011

Dear Parishioners of Saint Joseph Parish,

It is with much sadness that I write this letter to you.

The diocese has received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Father Lombardi, said to have taken place some years ago at another parish. A preliminary investigation was promptly and objectively conducted. In accord with the norms of the Church and diocesan policy, I have withdrawn Father Lombardi from exercising his ministry as pastor, pending the outcome of the canonical process required in these cases.

Our commitment to the safety of our children and young people requires this action. We are also committed to healing and reconciliation with victims/survivors of sexual abuse. Anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse as a minor by anyone in church service, whether the abuse was recent or occurred many years in the past, is encouraged to report this abuse to the diocese.

This is a very painful time for Saint Joseph Parish. I assure you of a daily remembrance in my prayers. I will do my best to provide continuing priestly ministry at Saint Joseph’s parish while this process continues. As we deal appropriately with this case, I ask for your prayers for all involved.

May God bless you with fortitude in your faith during these difficult days!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades

Bishop of Fort Wayne – South Bend

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