February 18, 2005

C.V. Catholics hear apology

The Daily Review

By Karen Holzmeister, STAFF WRITER

CASTRO VALLEY Allen Vigneron became bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland in October 2003, decades after altar boys at five churches in Alameda and Contra Costa counties said the Rev. Robert Ponciroli sexually abused them.

Last year Vigneron visited churches in Antioch, Byron, Oakland and Richmond to publicly apologize for Ponciroli's "clerical misconduct."

On Thursday, Vigneron brought the same message to Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Castro Valley, where Ponciroli, now 68, was assigned from 1975 to 1979.

A former Our Lady of Grace altar boy, who also was a student at the church's grammar school, is one of eight boysfrom the two counties who have sued the diocese, saying they were molested by the now-retired priest.

No victims of priestly abuse spoke Thursday.

But Vigneron but told fewer than 100 people scattered throughout the nave of the church that "I apologize to, and ask the pardon of, the parish community of Our Lady of Grace for the acts of clerical sexual abuse of minors that occurred here.

Posted by kshaw at February 18, 2005 08:08 AM