An Open Letter to Members of the Parish Community at St. Mary’s Parish

By Bishop Michael P. Driscoll
Boise Diocesan Web Site
March 5-6, 2005

My dear friends in Christ:

I want to acknowledge the painful experience your parish is having after learning of the misconduct of one of your deacons, Deacon Rap Howell. Some of you who have grown to know and love this deacon are shocked and devastated by his behavior. Some of you are angry because this represents another painful example of clergy sexual abuse. Some of you are angry because you were not told earlier of these accusations. Some of you are angry because you feel that inaccurate information has been shared. If my actions were in any way a part of causing any of your pain or anger I sincerely apologize.

By means of this note I want you to know that I, too, was shocked and devastated to learn that this had happened. Furthermore, I am upset at how this information was made public. From the very beginning I wanted to be the person to share this difficult information with you, explain what had happened and address your concerns. I am sorry that this did not happen.

When misconduct of this sort takes place in the diocese, I take it very seriously. I am committed to creating the safest possible environment for children in the Diocese of Boise and I am committed to calling my priests, deacons and those who work for the Church to accountability for their actions.

At this time, I want to reach out to your parish community and do what I can to help you work through this painful process. As part of my commitment to be open and transparent about this issue, I have arranged a time for me to meet with you, explain what has happened, listen to your concerns, and answer any questions you may have regarding this issue. I have asked Fr. Faucher to join me. This meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 10, 2005, at 7:00 at St. Mary’s Parish. I hope to see you at this meeting, because I firmly believe that the first step in a healing process is to communicate about the issues.

Finally, I have instructed my staff to make themselves available to assist anyone who needs assistance. People can contact Father Ronald Wekerle, vicar general, or Bobbi Dominick at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.

Assuring you of my prayers during this difficult time, I am

Bishop Michael P. Driscoll, MSW, DD


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