Pray for this priest. The devil is always on the prowl.
Town of Ashippun - The Rev. David Verhasselt, the former pastor of St. Catherine of Alexander Catholic Church has found a new pastoral role outside the realm of the Roman Catholic Church.
Verhasselt was placed on leave from St. Catherine's after a lengthy church investigation found him guilty of indirectly violating the seal of confession.
Verhasselt will now pastor a startup church in Ashippun within the Evangelical Catholic Church's northwest diocese, which is not under papal mandate.
The Evangelical Catholic Church (ECC) offers several pastoral reforms [female pastors, contraception, Mary's perpetual virginity, etc] on hot-button societal issues that have long been matters of contention for many within the Roman Catholic Church.
Verhasselt celebrated the first Mass on Aug. 4 for the new church, named The Holy Name of Jesus Evangelical Catholic Church, which is currently sharing space with Zion Lutheran Church in Ashippun.
"Eventually, it would be nice to have our own place, but that will be up to the community. We're just getting started at this point," said ECC Bishop James Wilkowski.
"After it gets a chance to take root better, then we will see what the needs are," he added.
About 200 people attended the inaugural service.
"Given the amount of support for Father Dave, I wasn't surprised at the number," Wilkowski noted.
Verhasselt, a much-beloved pastor from the Town of Oconomowoc parish, was initially placed on leave in 2010 pending an investigation into the claim that he violated the seal of confession.