New Priest at St. Henry's, Cheplic Waits

By Ronald Leir
The Jersey Journal
February 6, 2006

The Archdiocese of Newark has sent St. Henry's Church of Bayonne a replacement for parochial vicar Monsignor Peter Cheplic, who remains on voluntary leave following allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Richard J. Berbary, 52, who was ordained in 2004, came to St. Henry's last month after seeing service as parochial vicar at St. James Church in Springfield. During his clerical training, Berbary performed ministerial duties at Ss. Peter and Paul parish in Hoboken.

Before entering the priesthood, Berbary worked in an administrative capacity for a large New Jersey pharmaceutical company and also spent some time in the correctional field as an administrative aide, said James Goodness, a spokesman for the Archdiocese.

Berbary is actually the second new priest to be assigned to St. Henry's in the last few months: the Archdiocese sent the Rev. John Radwan, 47, to Bayonne in June 2005 as parochial vicar. During his clerical studies, Radwan assisted with ministerial functions at two Hudson County parishes - St. Anthony's in Jersey City and St. Stephen's in Kearny.

Also a latecomer to the clerical life, Radwan - originally from Nysa, Poland - spent two years in the Polish Army and served with the United Nations Emergency Forces in the Middle East, receiving the Military Peacekeeping Medal from the U.N. As a civilian, Radwan worked as a freelance photographer and got his real estate license.

Cheplic, 59, who went on leave from St. Henry's in August 2005, has been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct in four different cases reported to the Archdiocese that allegedly happened while the priest was serving in different New Jersey parishes dating from the late 1970s through the 1990s.


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