US diocese sends back Indian priest

Father Suresh Yamarthy had been sent back to India to “face the consequences of his actions,”

Father Suresh Yamarthy had been sent back to India to "face the consequences of his actions,"

North Buffalo: An Indian Catholic priest working in a parish near New York has been sent back to his home country after being caught endorsing checks meant for the church’s outreach program.

Father Suresh Yamarthy had been sent back to India to “face the consequences of his actions,” Father Steve Jekielek, parochial vicar of St. Christopher Catholic Church in Tonawanda, told the parishioners at Mass on November 12.

Tonawanda is a city in Erie County of New York State. The parish comes under Buffalo diocese.

Father Yamarthy had been assigned to St. Christopher for three years starting in June 2016. His last homily on the church’s website was given Oct. 29.

It was the second such incident at the church, following a much larger theft by the church’s former secretary and business manager that was discovered in 2006.

Father Yamarthy’s first assignment in the United States was at St. Mark and St. Rose of Lima parishes in North Buffalo. He served those parishes for less than six months, reports

Jekielek made the announcement about Father Yamarthy just before the end of Mass, first saying that he wanted to address the “rumors and innuendo” that parishioners might have heard.

The amount of the checks totaled about US$500, Father Jekielek told the congregation.

Father Yamarthy, who was still listed as a staff member on St. Christopher’s website November 12 afternoon, gave a sermon at the church on Oct. 29.

He made restitution and returned to India after the theft was discovered.

Town of Tonawanda police said they had received only routine calls to the church since then, nothing concerning a possible theft of funds.

George Richert, director of the Diocesan Office of Communications, said he could not answer questions but emailed a statement about the matter.

The statement said, “The staff at St. Christopher’s parish recently learned of a discrepancy involving less than $500. The matter was reported to the Diocese of Buffalo, which immediately conducted an investigation.

“Following the investigation, the individual involved made full restitution.

“After consultation with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, a decision was made not to press charges, and the individual was removed from (his) position and left the Diocese of Buffalo.

“The diocese takes very seriously the responsibility of good stewardship and ensuring the trust of the generous donors. In this case, good work at the parish level helped discover an unfortunate and rare case of mistrust.”

St. Christopher’s parish, at 2660 Niagara Falls Blvd., was rocked by one of the area’s largest embezzlement cases in 2006, when former secretary and business manager Maureen Durrell, then 47, was charged with second-degree grand larceny in the theft of up to $488,000 from the church between September 1998 and February 2005.

Those thefts were discovered during an audit, which also discovered that Durrell had systematically deleted financial data from the church computer. The matter was then turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators said she spent the money on lavish vacations, home improvements and family expenses.

Buffalo is a city in and the seat of Erie County in Western New York. It is New York State’s second most populous city after New York City.

Have Something to Say? Comment on Facebook

4 thoughts on “US diocese sends back Indian priest

  1. I would rather not condemn anyone so quickly, especially a priest.A more appropriate response will be to pray that God’s Providence will guide him through this phase in his life.

  2. All are tempted to sin,some yield and others do not. In this case we do not know how the irregularity occured but the priest was held responsible and he made restitution.The parish should have forgiven him in the Christian spirit. It is a small amount –$500– but it can be argued that honesty is questionable. Though it was wrong and sinful,it may not seem good to punish him ,once he realised his error and restored the loss.

  3. I Timothy 6:10
    “For the love of the money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains”
    Now the trend introduced by congregation priests and sisters and following them the diocesan bishops and priests is

    “Flow to where there is money”

    It is in the name of mission!!! It will be very interesting to know the revealtion of the number of Indian priests and nuns working abroad only with the intention of money making….(It excluding the retreat preachers and the doctrinal students.) some congregations short form itself is “cash making institution” really to find them. They mainly found in institutions and labouring in European and American dioceses. This is their mission of the congregation. In the report they read we are spread our mission in ….7 countries and in 4 continents etc.

    If they are poor in maintaining the vow of poverty what would be about chastity (easy to cheat than money) and obedience?

Leave a Response