Archbishop Carlson Reaches out to Church of Priest Charged in Sex Sting

Fox 2
August 2, 2009,0,7918517.story

[with video]

Carlson Apologized To Church Members On Behalf Of The Church.

ST. LOUIS, MO ( - St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson reached out to a parish in pain Saturday. The new leader of the region's Catholics took the place of the suspended pastor at St. Raphael the Archangel Church during the 4:30 pm mass. Father James Grady was arrested Thursday on charges he tried to buy sex with a 16-year old girl during a police sting operation.

During his homily, Archbishop Carlson apologized to church members on behalf of the church.

"I know some of you are hurting, some of you are scandalized, some of you are embarrassed," he said.

Some 350 parishioners attended the service at the church in the 6000 block of Jamison. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and State Senator Jeff Smith were there to show their support, although neither belongs to that parish.

Parish Council president Joe Zulich, who has been a church member for two decades, admitted the allegations against Father Grady test his beliefs.

"Your faith is rocked to the core and you go back to what you learned as a child and that is prayer is going to get you through this," he said.

Zulich and fellow parishioner Tom Magee both know the priest well. They said they were having trouble understanding what happened to a man they thought they knew. Both men have daughters who served in the church as altar girls. They said their daughters indicated Grady never did anything improper.

Archbishop Carlson plans to name a new parish priest within ten days.

"Hopefully this will help the healing process begin," he said.

Carlson said he sent a message to Grady through another priest that he is praying for him. The priest is being held in a "secure" facility according to the Archbishop.

Staff from the St. Louis Archdiocese will be at the church on Sunday to offer comfort to parishioners. The church is asking than anyone who had any encounters with Father Grady come forward.

"Hopefully nothing happened here. You know we looked at the computers here in the church a couple weeks ago and things were fine." said Carlson.

Other parishes where Grady worked include Little Flower in Richmond Hts, Assumption in Lemay, St. Ferdinand in Florissant, the Basilica of St. Louis, Holy Family in St. Louis, Sacred Heart in Elsberry, and Holy Innocents in St. Louis.


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