The following e-letter was sent out to parishioners on December 11, 2015.
Dear parishioners of the archdiocese:
You may have seen or heard some disturbing reports concerning a lawsuit filed against the pastor of one of our parishes, Father Miqueli of St. Frances de Chantal in the Bronx, as well as Cardinal Dolan and the Archdiocese of New York. I am sorry to have to discuss this issue, particularly during this time of the year, but I wanted you to have some more information about this than has been reported in the media.
First, I cannot and will not comment on the specifics of the lawsuit itself. As this is a legal matter, I will let the lawyers handle that in court.
But, I can say that there are a group of individuals at St. Francis de Chantal parish who have made some serious allegations concerning Fr. Miqueli. The archdiocese has, from the beginning, taken these allegations seriously, and has been investigating them, including conducting a forensic audit of the parish, which is still on-going. One of our auxiliary bishops, Bishop John Jenik, has met with the parishioners, in an effort to try to hear their concerns and reach a resolution, along with a distinguished group of legal professionals.
To date we have found nothing to substantiate the allegations that have been raised, and, in fact, with regard to the parish finances, we know that the allegation that Father Miqueli stole $1 million from each parish, as was alleged by the plantiffs’ attorney, is completely false. We did find that Father Miqueli had deficient management and administrative practices, and have put forward several directives to remedy those deficiencies.
We have asked the people who are making these charges to please provide us with documentation, but they have thus far failed to do so. I would like to reiterate that if anyone has information or documentation to substantiate the allegations, we would invite them to bring that information forward, or to contact the D.A.
However, I repeat, that we have been and continue to investigate this situation, but have not found anything that would confirm or substantiate the allegations raised. If, in the course of our ongoing investigation, we find additional information, we will, of course, take appropriate action in response.
Please keep all involved in this matter, particularly the parishioners of St. Frances de Chantal, in your prayers.
Director of Communications