Shoreview: St. Odilia Meetings Arranged

By Cynthia Boyd
Saint Paul Pioneer Press
May 21, 2002

St. Odilia Church officials are bracing for a pair of meetings with parishioners as word spreads across the Shoreview parish that a Roman Catholic brother who worshipped with them and lived and worked next door had admitted to sexually abusing a teen-age boy in the 1980s.

The revelation came about a month after St. Odilia's pastor spoke to his congregation from the pulpit about the need for the church to be more open when discussing allegations of abuse.

The parish meetings -- at 7 p.m. today and Wednesday at the church at 3495 N. Victoria St. -- are meant to give people a chance to vent.

The meetings follow an announcement Sunday by the head of the Crosier Fathers and Brothers that for the past 18 months Brother Gregory Madigan has been living under restrictions at the neighboring Crosier Fathers and Brothers priory. He also has been working in the Crosier headquarters next door to St. Odilia's church and the parish school for children from kindergarten through eighth grade. He was not allowed on parish property without an adult escort. An escort also accompanied him to morning prayers and Mass.

"We're trying to make these forums an opportunity for people to express their feelings and concerns about what has happened and how they think we should proceed from here," said Rex Holzemer, a lay leader at St. Odilia Catholic Church and a member of its pastoral council.

Holzemer said he had heard from about 25 parishioners since the announcement that there were feelings of "breached trust" and that the congregation should have known of Madigan's presence.

Maria Hoa Hong, parent of two teen-agers who attend St. Odilia School, had not learned of the announcement by midday Monday, but said, "There are bad people everywhere. You always want to protect our children." Yet she talked about forgiveness. "We need to pray for them. Maybe this is a message from God. He wants us to pray for our church now."

Also Monday, St. Odilia school principal Bob Grose reassured sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. A letter was also sent home to parents.

Other Crosiers, including the Rev. Richard McGuire, the pastor at St. Odilia's, knew of Madigan's background, but the church's lay leadership was not informed.

In a sermon a month ago, McGuire called for more openness and discussed old allegations about two former priests and a former lay worker.

McGuire said he did not have the authority to discuss the conduct of Madigan, who works with the Crosier order, rather than in the parish of St. Odilia.

McGuire said he regrets he did not inform the church lay leadership about Madigan's background, but said he could not reveal that information to his parishioners. The text of Carkhuff's Sunday sermon was being sent to parishioners.


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