FALL RIVER – In a communication from Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., read at Masses this weekend (February 18-19), parishioners of St. Ann Parish in Raynham were informed that their pastor has been placed on temporary leave from priestly ministry.
Reverend James M. Fitzpatrick was placed on administrative leave last week by the bishop for an investigation into a recent allegation of conduct that is inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior and in direct violation of the Code of Conduct for priests in the Diocese of Fall River. The allegation does not involve a minor.
As a priest on leave, he is not permitted to exercise public ministry nor present himself as a priest in public settings.
In his communication, Bishop da Cunha acknowledged how “distressing” this turn of events is for parishioners of the parish and assured them of his prayers during this difficult time.
The bishop also announced that the Diocese is in the process of making arrangements for a priest to assume, on a temporary basis, the pastoral and administrative responsibilities at the parish.
Father Fitzpatrick has served as pastor of St. Ann’s since August 2021.
The Diocese of Fall River encourages anyone with concerns regarding the conduct of any priest, staff or volunteer affiliated with the Diocese to contact Carolyn Shipp, the diocesan Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance at 508-985-6508 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.