Troy parish gets new pastor to replace priest charged with embezzlement
|By Patricia Montemurri, Detroit Free Press|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
This week, Detroit Catholic Archbishop
Rice, 64, has been pastor of St. Louise for 24 years. From 1999 to 2012, he also served as publisher and editor-in-chief of the archdiocese's newspaper, the
Parishioners will be notified of the appointment at services today and Sunday, but parish bulletins already posted Friday online include the announcement.
Known for being a dynamic, engaging, compassionate preacher, Belczak was suspended from his post in
Vigneron had to wait to name a full-time replacement for Belczak because of the intricacies of
Since Belczak's suspension, Msgr.
St. Thomas parishioners were divided in their reaction to the accusations against Belczak. After he was first accused, some parishioners started a website and Facebook page to offer testimonials and raise money to defend Belczak.
But the scandal took a toll on the parish. In 2013, for example, the parish's donations to an annual
No trial date has been set for Belczak and Verschuren, who were each initially charged with five counts of conspiracy and fraud. The indictment said Belczak stole
In July, prosecutors added a sixth count to the indictment, charging the duo with fraud connected to the parish's payments for medical/dental insurance for Verschuren's ex-husband, even though he was ineligible because of the couple's divorce.
Both Belczak, 69, and Verschuren, 67, of
"He wasn't aware of that. He was the pastor. He wasn't running the place," said Sabbota. Of Belczak's replacement as church pastor, Sabbota said: "It's not what the parishioners want."
"I just see more empty seats," Liposky, a basement remodeling contractor, said Friday. Lipsoky said his initial skepticism of the charges has waned since he read the federal indictment, noting "they don't write those frivolously."
"I still stick to my attitude that even if he's guilty of everything, I'd still have him do my funeral because he's so good at making people comfortable under all circumstances," said Liposky.
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