|Father Dongor’s Whereabouts Unknown
Catholic Free Press
October 31, 2011
Bishop McManus has notified the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines that Father Lowe B. Dongor may have fled the United States for his native country and that he is not a priest in good standing.
Bishop McManus removed Father Dongor, former associate pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, Fitchburg, from public ministry in July after financial improprieties were discovered at the parish. He
was arraigned in September on charges of possession of child pornography and larceny. Father Dongor was due back in court Oct. 25; he did not appear and a default warrant was issued, according to court documents.
Until his September arraignment, Father Dongor, 35, had been living at the Holy Name of Jesus of Studies in Worcester and, later, in a parish in Auburn. Because of the indictment he had to move out of any parish or diocesan property, according to Raymond L. Delisle, diocesan communications director. Mr. Delisle said that once a priest is charged with a crime that falls under the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, he can not live in a church residence.
On Monday Bishop McManus said, “Following Father Lowe Dongor’s arraignment in Fitchburg court, I requested that he move out of residence on church property since it would be a Charter offense until his case was heard. Subsequently, it came to my attention that Father Dongor had left the family he was staying with in the local area.
“Although we did not know definitely at that time if he had returned to the Philippines, we notified the local authorities that we did not know his whereabouts and also notified the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. I did that because, in the event that he presented himself as a priest in that country, I wanted it known that he was not a priest in good canonical standing.”
According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines website, the letter from Bishop McManus, dated Oct. 13, was sent to CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar.
A posting on the website said the McManus letter “said that the priest left a note saying that he was returning ‘home.’ “I presume that he meant the Philippines,’ McManus said.”
Bishop McManus also told Bishop Odchimar that on May 3, 2011 he received a clarification from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith declaring that “the acquisition, possession and distribution of child pornography is a canonical delict that pertains to the sexual abuse of a minor,” according to the CBCP website.
Father Dongor was born Feb. 17, 1976 in Iloilo, Phillippines. He came to Worcester in 2003 to discern a vocation with the Assumptionists at Assumption College, where he studied. Later he pursued priesthood for the Worcester Diocese, and studied at Saint Mary’s Seminary & University, Baltimore. He was ordained June 2, 2010.
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