Shock, sadness after Slidell Parish priest added to credibly accused list


By Sara Pagones

October 1, 2020

“I didn’t see it coming, and I’m sad that this has happened again,” Caruso said. “It’s sad.”

Slidell LA – Church members at St. Luke expressed shock and sorrow as the news hit on Thursday about well-liked priest Rev. Patrick Wattigny, pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist in Slidell.

The archdiocese said Wattigny disclosed to them on Thursday his sexual abuse of a minor in 2013. The archdiocese said law enforcement has been notified of his case, though it did not give specifics. He has been added to the archdiocese’s list of clergy credibly accused of abuse and was removed from ministry, effective immediately.

Gene Bellisario, who has served as head of the ushers ministry for 30 years, said that rumors had been circulating this summer when Wattigny went on retreat for two weeks and it was extended for another two.

Bellisario said he told people then that the priest might have been having personal or even health issues. He returned from the retreat seeming rejuvenated, and the talk died down.

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