December 14, 2004

Priest leaving school, church after suspension

HARRISONBURG (VA)
Staunton News Leader

By Ruth Jones/staff
rjones@newsleader.com

HARRISONBURG The priest at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church was suspended this week after admitting to a sexual relationship with an adult woman.

Richmond Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo announced the suspension of the Rev. Jim Gallagher during the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses Sunday morning.

Gallagher not only presided over the Harrisonburg church, but was one of four parish priests who came to Guardian Angel Regional Catholic School as a spiritual consultant once a month to have Mass with the students.

"He is so beloved by so many people," said school administrator Mary Thompson.

"We just found out about it last night," said administrator assistant Tina Obenschain. "It was just overwhelming and it just still is. Father Gallagher was not only loved by the children at Blessed Sacrament, but he was extremely loved at Guardian Angel. He did everything he could to build that parish community in so many ways. He will be greatly, greatly missed."

Posted by kshaw at December 14, 2004 04:32 AM