Parish Council Releases Statement about Gondek Situation

The Dispatch
October 18, 2007

The Diocese of Charlotte of the Roman Catholic Church issued the following statement today on behalf of the parish council of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Lexington. The church's pastor, Father Al Gondek, has been placed on administrative leave after a Delaware man alleged sexual misconduct by Gondek 47 years ago. Check The Dispatch tonight for a full story.

The parish family of Our Lady of the Rosary Church was shocked and saddened to hear of the allegations made recently against our pastor, Fr. Al Gondek. Fr. Al has denied these allegations. We understand that The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the Catholic Church necessitates his being placed on administrative leave during the investigation. However, we miss him greatly and support him wholeheartedly. We hope that these allegations will be investigated quickly and his good name restored.

Fr. Al's nine years as our pastor have been characterized by a desire for unity, and he has worked tirelessly to energize our parish for greater spiritual growth, community involvement, and personal interaction. Perhaps nowhere is his vision of unity more obvious than in our Hispanic community. Fr. Al has become a strong advocate for Hispanics, even learning Spanish in his spare time. He has been a driving force behind the Latino Roundtable and served as an effective liaison between Hispanics and the local community. The entire Hispanic congregation wishes to express their gratitude for Father's efforts on their behalf.

Fr. Al's concern for others has not ended at the church door. In addition to his participation in numerous community-wide endeavors, he has been a member of the Lexington Human Relations Commission for eight years and has also served as president of the Greater Lexington Area Ministerial Association. During his forty-one years as a priest, he has dedicated his life to the ministry and to helping others in the community.

A kind, compassionate man, Fr. Al has always been concerned about his parishioners, both collectively and individually. He has a tremendous ability to empathize with others. In his humility, he has sought to deflect attention from himself, which often obscures his selfless acts of kindness. With unlimited energy, he has worked tirelessly for the causes in which he believes, often to the detriment of his own health.

Father Al has been dedicated to the spirituality of his parishioners and has especially stressed the need for religious education for our youth. The parents of Our Lady of the Rosary church have seen their children grow spiritually under Fr. Al's guidance and have never had any qualms about his interactions with their children.

Regardless of our parish endeavors, Fr. Al has always reminded us of the importance of faith and of prayer. In our pastor' s absence, the parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary church are resolved to continue his mission. We ask the community to pray for Fr. Al and for us.


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