Diocesan Priest placed on Administrative Leave of Absence

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SAGINAW — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced this weekend that the Rev. Denis M. Heames, Parochial Administrator of St. Mary University Parish, Mt. Pleasant, has been placed on administrative leave due to boundary violations related to his priestly ministry.

“Last weekend, it was brought to my attention that Father Heames has been involved in boundary violations related to his priestly conduct, serious enough to require appropriate assessment and treatment,” Bishop Cistone shared with parishioners at St. Mary University Parish last night. “It is important to assure you that these actions in no way involved minors. Nonetheless, peoples’ lives have been affected and Father Heames will need to address these matters in a comprehensive way. Consequently, this past week, I placed Father Heames on an administrative leave of absence.”

At this point in time, the diocese cannot address Father Heames’ future ministry. In the meantime, the diocese is making arrangements to ensure the Sacramental and administrative needs of the parish.

“Even as priests, we still deal with weaknesses and sin as any other person,” Bishop Cistone said. “It greatly distresses me to know that any person entrusted to our care has been harmed by a minister of our Church. The good news is that meaningful help and the grace of God are available to all of us.

“I ask that you keep in your prayers Father Heames and those who have been harmed in any way by his conduct. Pray for St. Mary University Parish that it will remain a place in which the love and mercy of Christ is proclaimed and lived. And, I humbly ask that you pray for me to have the wisdom and grace to be a good shepherd at this time as God would wish.”

Father Heames was assigned as Parochial Administrator of St. Mary University Parish in 2012 and also appointed as Adjutant Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Saginaw. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2008 and his first assignment was as associate pastor at Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Mt. Pleasant. The following year, in 2009, he began canon law studies at Gregorian University in Rome. He was a student there for three years (2009-2012), and upon completion of his graduate degree in 2012, he was assigned to St. Mary University Parish.

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