Bishop Barbarito's Letter to Parishioners

 

To the Parishioners of Holy Name of Jesus Parish

 

My Brothers and Sister in Christ,

 

As you are probably aware, Father Jose Palimattom, OFM, a priest of the Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle in India who had been in our Diocese for less than a month, was recently arrested on charges of possession of pornography and showing the material to a minor.  Father Palimattom continues to be incarcerated. 

 

I want to assure this faith community that such allegations are taken very seriously within the Diocese of Palm Beach.  Upon learning of the allegation, the Diocese of Palm Beach immediately contacted police authorities and has cooperated in the investigation conducted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

 

It is the policy of the Diocese of Palm Beach to conduct a full background screening when a visiting priest wishes to visit and minister within our Diocese. Part of Father Palimattom’s screening included a background screening conducted in India as well as receipt of a Certificate of Aptitude from the Minister Provincial in India that essentially approved Father Palimattom’s ministerial work, granted permission for him to come to our Diocese, and assured us that there is nothing in his past that would indicate that he might deal with minors or adults in an inappropriate manner. During this background process, no prior misconduct was revealed.

 

I have  suspended all priestly faculties which were previously granted to Father Palimattom, so that he does not have permission to provide any ministry within our Diocese nor even present himself as a priest. We are also in contact with the Minister Provincial of the Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle in India.

 

The Diocese of Palm Beach will continue to cooperate with investigators. I encourage anyone who may have additional information or similar experiences to contact the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office at 561-688-3400, as well as the Chancellor of the Diocese of Palm Beach at 561-775-9500.

 

I sincerely regret the hurt which this distressing matter has caused to the family involved as well as to the entire parish family of Holy Name of Jesus. 

 

Assuring the parish family of Holy Name of Jesus of my prayers, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

                                             

                                                            Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito

                                                            Bishop of Palm Beach