Pair of Northern Michigan Priests No Longer in Active Ministry

Associated Press State & Local Wire
May 8, 2002

A Roman Catholic priest from the Upper Peninsula is on a leave of absence from active ministry following a substantiated allegation of sexual misconduct with minors "dating back many years ago," said a spokeswoman from the Diocese of Marquette.

The Rev. Raymond J. Hoefgen, pastor of Precious Blood Parish in Stephenson and St. Bruno Parish in Nadeau, will receive an independent assessment at a treatment facility to help determine the future of his ministry, diocesan spokeswoman Loreen Zeno Koskey said in a statement.

The Rev. Mathew Perumpally, associate pastor of Precious Blood and St. Bruno's, informed both congregations about the allegation at services held on Saturday and Sunday.

Representatives from the diocese met Sunday with the staff and leaders of the two Menominee County parishes to discuss the situation. They also offered pastoral care to parishioners.

Perumpally will continue serving Precious Blood and St. Bruno in Hoefgen's absence.

Another priest has resigned as pastor of two northern Michigan parishes and has apologized for his role in a sexual misconduct case involving a teen-ager.

On Tuesday, the Rev. Ron Gronowski resigned as pastor at the parishes of St. Stephen and St. Theresa in Manton. He quit because of a 1995 allegation of sexual misconduct during the 1970s, the Diocese of Gaylord said.

"I cannot express how profoundly sorry I am for any anguish this person has suffered from my actions," Gronowski said in a letter to parishioners announcing his resignation. "Nor can words share the depth of my sadness and grief for any embarrassment and pain caused to my own family, my brother priests, the diocese and our beloved Catholic Church."

Gaylord Bishop Patrick Cooney told the Cadillac News that he believed Gronowski was "sincerely remorseful and ... genuinely wants to spare anyone any further pain."

"We did agree that his resignation from parish ministry was in the best interest of everyone involved," Cooney said.

The age and sex of the teen-ager were not reported. Wexford County Prosecutor William Fagerman said Wednesday that he had not received any report on the case.

At least 14 Catholic priests in Michigan have been removed or have left their parishes since Jan. 1 amid abuse allegations. At least eight of the cases involved a minor.


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