Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Church: Keeping the Faith
By Rich Harbert
Wicked Local Plymouth
February 17, 2012
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Church will survive its recent clergy sexual abuse turmoil, in large part, because of the man who stands accused, says the pastor charged with carrying on.
Rev. William Williams, pastor of St. Peter Church in downtown Plymouth, said this week that Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha parish will persevere without the Rev. James Braley because of the support systems and staff “Father Jim” put in place over the last 10 years.
Early this week, Williams was assigned to serve as administrator of the West Plymouth church in the wake of Braley’s sudden suspension. The Archdiocese of Boston placed Braley, the pastor of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha since 2001, on leave last Sunday as a result of an allegation of sexual abuse of a child in the early 1980s.
A spokesman for the Middlesex County District Attorney confirmed this week that the office received the referral about Braley and is reviewing the allegation. Braley was assigned to St. Peter Parish in Cambridge in Middlesex County from his ordination in 1975 until 1981.
Williams, who will continue to serve as pastor at St. Peter, said he expects to see “business as usual” at Blessed Kateri because of the staff Braley assembled.
“He has a very fine business manager, an active and retired deacon and a very fine support staff there. He has committees working on various things in the parish. It’s an alive, functioning parish that will not stop because he’s gone,” Williams said.
The sacramental duties of the church will be taken on by a familiar face, according to Williams.
The Rev. Jack Schatzel, will take over baptisms, confessions and daily and weekend Masses. Schatzel was the church’s priest when Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was founded 30 years ago.
Williams meet with staff at the church Monday and will attend regular parish council and finance meetings.
“We all agree on the sadness of the situation and we keep on going for the sake of the parish and the sake of Father Jim, who put a lot of work into it. We’re not going to let the whole thing die just because he’s been accused of something,” Williams said.
Williams, who has only know Braley for two years, said the priest’s work speaks for itself. “The parish, its vitality, its closeness, all of that speaks for the work he’s done there,” Williams said.
Quincy attorney William Sullivan, who represents Braley, said Braley adamantly denies he did anything inappropriate.
“The support he has received has been tremendous and has helped him through. People all came out to voice their support,” Sullivan said.