St. Louis cancels Wednesday morning Mass, Father Nadeau under investigation
FORT KENT – Parishioners reported the doors to the St. Louis Catholic Church in Fort Kent were closed on Wednesday morning the week before Easter Sunday the day after the Portland Diocese said Fr. James Nadeau was taking a voluntary leave of absence while the Maine attorney general’s office conducts an investigation into allegations against the priest.
The Diocese had few details, and has provided no indication to the nature of the allegations.
Bishop Richard Malone said in press release, "In order for the investigation to proceed unimpeded, Fr. Nadeau has taken a voluntary leave of absence. The diocese is cooperating fully with the Attorney General's office and at their request, I cannot discuss the allegations or anything about the investigation. I am hopeful that this process will go smoothly in order to lead to an expeditious and just conclusion."
"As in any investigation, it's important to respect the presumption of innocence," said Brenda Kielty, spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office. "It's also important not to jump to conclusions about the nature of the allegations."
The church had originally scheduled The Mass of the Oils, an annual blessing of the oils used in the Catholic sacraments, to occur on Wednesday night. According to a press release from the Portland Diocese, Fr. Nadeau will be at the Mass"... to be in solidarity with parishioners."
Fr. Jim, as his parishioners refer to him, has been ministering in the St. John Vianney Parish for seven years.
Fiddlehead Focus will provide more information as it becomes available.