Church's Request for 2 Priests Denied

By Joann Klimkiewicz
Hartford Courant
February 6, 2003

NEW BRITAIN -- The Archdiocese of Hartford has denied a request from the Rev. Paul Wysocki, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, to allow two priests from Poland to temporarily assist at the parish.

With the church still reeling from the arrest of the Rev. Roman Kramek - the last priest Wysocki brought from abroad - the archdiocese would not grant its permission.

"The archdiocese does not want to see a repeated incident of a priest coming into the diocese and receiving faculties without knowing fully the background of the priest," said the Rev. John Gatzak, spokesman for the archdiocese. "The intent is to make sure that, at all costs, the diocese protects children and young people."

Wysocki, Sacred Heart's only full-time priest, has for years received approval from the archdiocese to bring in a priest from Poland to help during the busy Christmas and Easter seasons. He would not comment on the decision Wednesday.

Kramek, 40, was charged in December with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl he offered to counsel for emotional problems she was having as a result of a rape the month before. Under state law, it is illegal for psychotherapists or clergy members to have sex with anyone they are counseling.

Gatzak said the archdiocese is not banning visiting priests from other dioceses. Those priests still will require an "affidavit of suitability" - a letter of recommendation from the visiting priest's home diocese attesting that he is in good standing. Final approval then is needed from Archbishop Daniel Cronin.

Wysocki has said he is stretched thin at the largely Polish church and needs the assistance during those seasons.

In a personal letter to Wysocki, Monsignor Thomas Ginty, chancellor for the archdiocese, suggested that the pastor request full-time assistance from within the archdiocese, which is home to several Polish-speaking priests, Gatzak said.

"The archbishop is looking to minimize chances of an incident like this ever happening again," Gatzak said. "And that's why it is being recommended to Father Wysocki that rather than relying on assistance from visiting priests from outside the country, he should go through the process of requesting and receiving a full-time associate priest to work with him in the parish."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.