Sunday, August 19, 2018
Communications Department - Archdiocese of Miami
Archbishop Thomas Wenski issued this statement Aug. 19, 2018 to the faithful of St. Coleman in regards to Father Henryk Pawelec.
Dear parishioners of St. Coleman,
Recently the Archdiocese of Miami received a report that parish funds had been diverted by your pastor, Father Henryk Pawelec for his personal benefit. The Archdiocese investigated and reviewed the parish’s financial records with the cooperation of parish staff to make a determination of how much money was purloined during the time of his tenure as pastor.
On August 15, I met with Fr. Pawelec. He agreed to resign as pastor of St. Coleman Parish effective immediately and has paid restitution in the amount of $236,469.00.
Father has been relieved of all duties in the Archdiocese. Appropriate canonical proceedings have been initiated and the Archdiocese has reported this matter to the State Attorney’s Office for any possible civil action.
This breach of trust on the part of Father Pawelec, I am sure, deeply saddens and disappoints you as much as it saddens and disappoints me. Father could only have diverted these funds because he, as pastor, deliberately chose to ignore Archdiocese policies on the proper handling of parish funds. However, these same policies and the accounting controls in place, allowed us to determine the amount of funds pocketed by Father which he has now given back.
I have appointed as Parish Administrator Father Michael Garcia. He served as parochial vicar of St. Louis Parish in Pinecrest (South Miami-Dade County) after his ordination to the priesthood in 2015. In June, he began a second assignment at Nativity Parish in Hollywood.
Any type of misbehavior by a priest or anyone else in authority is deeply disturbing but such failures are a reminder of our common humanity and the frailty of our human condition. Let us pray for our priests; let us pray for each other: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
+Archbishop Thomas Wenski