July 17, 2005

Priest's task: to heal a church

Miami Herald


Father Albert Cutiť wears his black hair slicked forward with a dollop of hair gel. He has sharp blue eyes that fix on you with the practiced familiarity of a politician, and a flawless face that's beamed into 24 million homes in 22 countries.

Cutiť is known as Padre Alberto -- the chatty, telegenic priest and public face of the Archdiocese of Miami.

Now he's taking on a more vital role. For the first time in his 10 years as a priest, Cutiť, 36, is heading his own church, a historic parish in the heart of South Beach whose longtime pastor was suspended amid sexual-abuse charges.

Since June 1, Cutiť has been running St. Francis de Sales, a parish that occupies a prime piece of real estate in South Beach, the domain of jet-setters, clubbers and sun-seeking tourists. Cutiť, whose modern-day confessional has been a radio studio on Northwest 28th Street, views South Beach as a ripe mission field: ``I see St. Francis as a spiritual oasis on Alton Road. People think of South Beach and they think party, alcohol, bars, clubs. They don't think church.''

Posted by kshaw at July 17, 2005 05:58 AM