Local pastor resigns, Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo investigates

Published 9:01 am Monday, October 29, 2018

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — An investigation into financial irregularities at several local churches has begun following the resignation of a Dowagiac pastor. 

The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo recently announced that, on Oct. 22, Rev. Richard Altine, of Dowagiac, voluntarily resigned as pastor from several southwest Michigan parishes, including: Holy Maternity of Mary in Dowagiac, Holy Family in Decatur, St. Anthony in Buchanan, St. Gabriel in Berrien Springs and Sacred Heart of Mary in Silver Creek Township. Altine also resigned as Dean of the Southern Deanery, and has temporarily withdrawn from public ministry.

Altine’s resignation comes with an announcement of an investigation by the Kalamazoo Diocese into financial irregularities at the parishes where Altine was pastoring.

Vicki Cessna, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, said the Diocese became suspicious of financial irregularities at Altine’s parishes in mid-October.

At this time, she said could not provide more information about the investigation or the types of financial irregularities being investigated, though she said the Diocese will work to keep the churches affected informed as the process continues.

“This news is always troubling to people, but we are taking a thorough investigation to understand, and we don’t know what that will uncover, because it is unknown to us,” Cessna said. “At this time, we are committed to keep the parishes informed and asking that everyone keep Father [Altine] in their prayers and the entire Diocese, as well.”

Though Altine did not respond for comment on the investigation, he did address his resignation in an Oct. 24 Facebook post.

“Dear friends, I have resigned as pastor of Holy Mothers Sacred Family of Parishes, also as Dean of Southern Deanery,” he wrote in his post. “I am on medical leave to deal with medical and mental issues. During this time, I am suspended from priestly duties. Please keep me in your prayers. You are in mine.”

As the investigation is ongoing, Rev. Alberto Bondy, a retired priest from the Archdiocese of Detroit, has been appointed interim Administrator of the Collaborative, while Rev. Leo Cartagena remains Administrator of St. Anthony Parish and St. Gabriel Parish, and Rev. Mike Rejent will remain as Senior Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Parish.