Letter to Parishioners

By Jerome E. Listecki
May 26, 2002
Reprinted in Chicago Daily Herald
May 27, 2002

Parishioners of St. James Catholic Church in Arlington Heights were read a letter during services Sunday announcing that former pastor Peter Bowman has been removed from the ministry because of allegations of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy more than 45 years ago. Here is the text of the letter:

To the Parishioners of St. James Parish,

It is with sadness and shock that I must inform you of the removal from ministry of Fr. Peter Bowman. Allegations have been received by the Archdiocese of Chicago that he engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor teenager more than 45 years ago.

Fr. Bowman's priestly work and influence has impacted many families and individuals throughout the Archdiocese. His pastoral work, in particularly here at St. James of Arlington Heights, has been a great sign of the power of Christ's presence; of this there is no doubt. It is this presence of Christ that we call upon now during this time to assist parishioners, friends, Fr. Bowman, as well as all victims of sexual misconduct, to heal the hurt and grief associated with the violation of Jesus' unambiguous love. I realize that you might have many questions, for which we may not have all the answers. However, the parish will be having a gathering in church to offer parishioners an opportunity for prayer and to express their thoughts and concerns regarding this matter. I will be present for this evening of reflection and prayers on Tuesday, May 28, at 7:30 p.m. here at St. James Parish.

These are difficult times for the Church. The climate of sin, distrust and misrepresentation created by a few has given rise to anger embarrassment, shame and hurt by many. But the risen Lord will and must be proclaimed. He is the only answer - and your faith is a testimony to that fact.

St. James is a parish admired by many in the Archdiocese. Your sensitivity to the needs of the faithful in the multitude of ministries established to serve the community is a mark of the living gospel. You are blessed to have a pastor, Fr. Bill Zavaski, and associate pastors, Fr. Tim Fairman and Fr. Ted Schmitt, who are dedicated to your spiritual welfare and willing to serve you with the generosity of their priestly life. Please pray for them and support them.

I believe that the Lord will make us stronger as a Church and call us to rededicate ourselves as priests and laity for the sake of making our Redeemer and Savior known to the world.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Jerome E. Listecki
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate I


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.