Wait for Church review
Re: The priest, his gambling and trouble at Blessed Sacrament, April 16.
I am perplexed over the length and breadth of your cover story on Father Joe LeClair. What “trouble at Blessed Sacrament”? How can such a claim be made? Haven’t we learned that he paid off his debts; hasn’t he said that he would never take money from the church? When we learn of an alcoholic, do we need to know how many drinks he/she consumed? Your story told all: the detail of his cash advances; his salary; the market price of his car; the size of his TV; what can be said of his living quarters. Could we not allow, at this early discovery, that his casino habit and high spending came from his own funds . perhaps investments, perhaps an inheritance. Both can happen.
The Church will do its due diligence to ensure that church funds have not been abused. We should wait.
Father Joe is a very giving man, a gifted priest and a very caring counsellor. He is cut from the finest of cloth. If we had more of him, Ottawa would be a kinder, gentler community.
Isn’t it our turn to show him a good and generous heart?
Deacon Al Ritchie, Orléans
The Father Joe I know
19 April 19
By Paul Moylan, I’ve known Father Joe for 17 years. He has been my pastor, priest and friend for all that time. He celebrated my wedding, making it more spiritual and a greater, more joyous celebration than I could have imagined. On another occasion, he rose in the night to answer my call, to help me deal with my own father’s stroke days before he died. He was at my father’s bedside before dawn that same morning, delivering the last rites. He spent the weekend consoling my mother, my siblings and me with spiritual wisdom, making an impossibly hard time manageable. He eventually celebrated my father with an uplifting funeral and a deeply personal and intimate burial.
I’ve known my priest to miss sleep on other occasions, holding vigils with the parents of sick children at CHEO, where he is a regular fixture in the hospital halls. He has risen from his bed to answer frantic calls from the parents of teenage car accident victims. He has been with us to share the lowest lows, and to celebrate the highest highs. I have seen Father Joe time and again offer a piece of himself to everyone he meets, whatever and whenever the need, through everything he does.
I was deeply saddened to read the Citizen article Saturday morning; my friend now has his own struggle. My hand is out to him, as his has always been to me. There is a reason why Father Joe is so valuable as pastor at Blessed Sacrament. He has been there for so many of us in our times of grief; shared with us on our occasions of joy, and now we are here for him in his time of pain.
PAUL MOYLAN, Ottawa