Why Church Will Drop Pastor's Name

By Sheila Ahern
Chicago Daily Herald
February 21, 2006

The name of the Rev. R. Peter Bowman will no longer be a part of the St. James Catholic Church in Arlington Heights.

This weekend, parishioners were told the Bowman Center will now just be referred to as the parish center, said the Rev. Bill Zavaski, pastor of the church.

"This is such a personal and painful decision," Zavaski said. "But it will be changed back to the parish center in light of the sexual abuse. We thought this would be way to heal wounds and to forgive."

In 2002, Bowman, a retired Chicago Archdiocese administrator and former pastor of St. James Church, was relieved of his duties as a priest amid allegations of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy about 50 years ago.

A few members of the parish wanted to keep Bowman's name attached to the center, but more people wanted it off, Zavaski said.

Bowman left St. James in 1995 to become an archdiocese administrator and retired in 2001.

He was one of the church's most beloved priests and is credited with steering the parish's exponential growth during his 17-year tenure. Bowman was ordained a priest in May 1955.

The allegation of sexual misconduct stems from when he was an associate pastor at St. Denis on Chicago's South Side.

Bowman was pastor at St. James from 1978 until 1995. Zavaski took over when Bowman went to work as vicar for the administration for the archdiocese.


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