A popular Roman Catholic priest who attended the pope's address to Congress last month has been removed from ministry because of an "inappropriate relationship with an adult man," the Chicago Archdiocese announced Sunday.continue at Chicago Tribune
Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich removed the Rev. Marco Mercado, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, withdrawing his authority to minister. The Rev. Adan Sandoval Duron, head of the archdiocese's new Hispanic Council, has been appointed interim administrator, and Mercado will live away from the shrine.
"As a human being I am not perfect, but as a priest my priority has always been the work of the Gospel and the struggle for immigrants and the most vulnerable," Mercado said in a statement. "I pray that this issue is resolved soon, and I ask for your prayers, at the same time that I apologize if this scandal has caused any hardship to the faithful."
Ordained in 1998, Mercado grew up in Morelia, Mexico, and attended seminary in that country before coming to Casa Jesus, a renowned archdiocese training program for Latin American men who aspire to become priests. He graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary and became associate pastor of St. Anthony of Padua church in west suburban Cicero.
In 2010, he became director of the archdiocese's Office of Hispanic Ministry. He also has served as one of several spokesmen for the church's fight for immigration reform, as part of the Priests for Justice for Immigrants.
From 2013 - Campaign launched to build new 4,500 capacity church at Des Plaines Guadalupe Shrine