Fund-Raising Priest Fired by Food for Poor
N.C. Diocese Stripped Him of Authority to Function As a Priest

By John Holland, Marian Dozier and Megan O'Matz
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
April 18, 2002

A Roman Catholic priest who spent the past year luring big-money donors to South Florida's largest charity has been fired, a charity official said.

The Rev. Richard Farwell was dismissed from the Food for the Poor charity on Monday, days after being stripped of his authority to function as a priest by his home diocese in Charlotte, N.C., said Angel Aloma, executive vice president of Food for the Poor.

Farwell, hired by the charity in August 2000, came from the Charlotte diocese with a glowing letter of recommendation from Bishop William Curlin that referred to Farwell as a "faithful priest," said Aloma.

Farwell told charity officials that he was stripped of his authority as a priest last week, the executive vice president said. Farwell, who lives in Pompano Beach, did not return phone calls.

Aloma called Farwell a good employee. The bishop's letter gave no hint of any problems in Farwell's past, he said.

"This really surprised us all," Aloma said. "From what I understand, he informed his [supervisor], who then discussed that with other people here."

Farwell's first job at the charity involved making speeches at local parishes extolling the virtues of donating to Food for the Poor. About 14 months ago he was promoted to a position in which he was responsible for wooing some of the area's leading corporate and private contributors, Aloma said.

Food for the Poor is South Florida's largest charity, having raised more than $1 billion in its 20-year history while providing aid to the Caribbean. Priests there are generally on loan from their home diocese or parish and have no connection with the local diocese, local Catholic officials said.

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami said it had no record of Farwell, who remained attached to the Charlotte diocese, and referred all calls to Food for the Poor.

Aloma said the fund-raising position required Farwell be an active priest with full powers of the church.

Curlin and a spokeswoman for the Charlotte diocese did not return phone calls.


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