Public responds to Fargo priest going on administrative leave

By Cali Hubbard
Valley News Live
April 07, 2019

[with video]

A statement released today by the Diocese revealed that a priest in Fargo was put on administrative leave due to an ongoing investigation with a minor.

"Anything can happen anywhere", said Fargo resident Melissa Bachmeier. "I mean everyone just kind of has to watch themselves and their kids and just know that anything can happen at any moment in time."

Melissa Bachmeier is from Fargo and she grew up going to church.

"It's fun to get involved with other members of the church, to know that you feel like you belong with a group," said Bachmeier.

And like Bachmeier, Carl Selvig can relate to her. He says the church has always been a part of him.

"Loving him and loving each other and I think it's important for us all to learn how to love our neighbor," said Selvig.

Many carried out their weekly tradition of going to church on Sunday.

It wasn't that way for a few North Dakota churches including Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo, where a priest was put on administrative leave last Thursday.

Father Wenceslaus Katanga was removed from his priestly duties due to an interaction he had with a minor at the Catholic church in Fargo.

The priest had a big impact on the community as he was also a part of other churches in North Dakota.

Some members from these churches say Father Katanga isn't like this.

One Wishek woman who did not want to her name to be mentioned said, "he's a very sweet kind man. You could be having the worst day and he would go out of his way to ask how you were doing. He even helped a few in our community come out of a dark place. I've known him for at least 12 years.

The release says that Father Katanga will not be residing at the parish during the investigation.

Bishop John Folda of the Fargo diocese says the safety of the children and families is and will remain a priority of the church.

Mothers like Bachmeier say you need to have a trusting relationship with your kids.

"I can't say that I am a very protective mom but I would like to stay in communication, knowing where my kids are and who they're hanging with, just to kind of know what's going on," said Bachmeier.

We spoke with the Director of Communications at the Catholic Diocese of Fargo and he says that Father Katanga was removed from his priestly duties due to the allegations at the church.

There are no pending charges at this time as the investigation is still ongoing.


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