Newly ordained priest removed from ministry at St. Stephen's Parish

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:19

    WARWICK — Bishop Dominick Lagonegro, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York and Episcopal Vicar of Orange County, addressed the parishioners of the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, during Masses last weekend. He explained that it was his sad duty to report that it had come to the attention of Archdiocesan officials that while the Rev. Casmir Mung’aho was a seminarian, he had fathered a child in a consensual relationship with an adult woman. Mung’aho was recently assigned to St. Stephen’s Parish. Lagonegro explained that as a candidate for Holy Orders, Mung’aho had never revealed this to the bishops or seminary authorities and that he was the father of a child was not known at the time of his ordination last May. “Given the need for Father Casmir to address this matter and reflect on his responsibilities in a very serious way,” said Lagonegro, “his assignment to St. Stephen’s is now ended. Please pray for him, as well as for the mother and the child whose lives are so precious.” Members of the parish were both stunned and saddened by the announcement. In the short time he served as St. Stephen’s Vicar, Mung’aho, a native of the United Republic of Tanzania, was well liked. He was the fourth newly ordained priest to be assigned to the parish, which has been considered an honor as well as a responsibility by the pastor, Rev. Michael McLoughlin. Addressing his congregation, McLoughlin stated: “We ask your prayers for Father Casmir, for the mother and the child.” Lagonegro promised that the Archdiocese would send the parish another priest as soon as possible. “While we regret having to bring such sensitive matters to your attention,” he added, “Archbishop Dolan and I believe that it is better to be forthright with you. We are sure that when there is sobering news like this about leaders in the church, our faithful people should hear it first from their pastors rather than from someone else.” - Roger Gavan