July 31, 2005

After move to Bakersfield rejected, Fresno is base

Fresno Bee


Last Updated: July 31, 2005, 04:35:35 AM PDT

Barbara Levey said she was glad to hear that a former Merced priest who faced allegations that he used a dating Web site would soon be working with prisons and living in residence at a Fresno church.

"I hope it works out for him," the Merced resident said Saturday. "Hopefully, people will now let go of this and move on."

Jean-Michael Lastiri, who was ousted from St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Merced a year ago, will be director of detention ministry in the eight-county Diocese of Fresno, said Pat Gordon, director of human resources for the diocese.

Gordon declined further comment Friday except to say that Lastiri will be "in residence" at the Shrine of St. Therese, a Catholic church in Fresno's Tower District near downtown. He will live at a rectory on church property, said Monsignor E. James Petersen, pastor at St. Therese.

A priest who is "in residence" at a parish is not assigned there, but sometimes helps celebrate Mass and hears confessions on weekends while working outside the parish during the week.

Posted by kshaw at July 31, 2005 08:58 AM