Fired Fathers Frustrate Flock

ELIZABETH — Parishioners from one of 11 Catholic parishes in the city are angry that Archbishop John Myers evicted four parish priests from the rectory at St. Mary of the Assumption.

The pastor, Msgr. Robert Harrington, 67, was notified last July that he was to leave at year’s end but three other other priests were given notice one week before Christmas. Two retired priests — Fr. Jack Martin and Fr. Pat Donohue — were ordered to leave and a younger priest, Fr. Esterminio Chica, has been reassigned.

The action was prompted by financial problems related to practices that began while the parish was administered by former pastor Msgr. Paul Bootkoski, who is now bishop of Metuchen.

A spokesperson for Myers would not confirm that an investigation of the parish’s finances is being conducted, but Jim Goodness, communications director for the Newark archdiocese, confirmed that St. Mary owes the archdiocese $1.4 million.

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