By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
Father Chris Brey, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, submitted his resignation Monday from his priest duties as he prepares to be married next month, church officials confirmed Tuesday.
“He submitted his resignation to Bishop Paprocki on Monday. It was for personal reasons and his decision,” said Marlene Mulford, director of communications with the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois office.
In a letter shared with local Catholic school families Tuesday, Monsignor David J. Hoefler said Father Chris was “leaving the active ministry of the priesthood and is engaged to be married on Nov. 25.”
Brey was pastor of St. Anthony and a popular priest in the community. A decision has not yet been made on the next pastor for the church, Mulford said.
“Priests from the Diocese will fill in on the weekends,” Mulford said. “There is a priest personnel board that will decide on a new pastor.”
Brey had served at St. Anthony 20 years ago and headed a group of young Catholics to St. Louis in 1999 for Pope John Paul II’s visit to that city. After a transfer out of Effingham County, he returned to St. Anthony a few years ago to help with both St. Anthony and Sacred Heart churches. His assignment changed earlier this year to pastoral duties at St. Anthony parish.
In a note to parishioners at St. Anthony, Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s of Shumway, Fr. Michal Rosa said he was praying for Father Chris and for the parishioners. He and others of the clergy will talk with parishioners on the issue after Masses this weekend.
The Catholic Church does not allow priests to be married except in special circumstances. There are married Catholic priests who converted from Anglican Communion and Protestant faiths. In some Eastern Catholic churches men already married may be ordained priests, but priests may not marry after ordination.
Church law requires priests in religious orders take vows of celibacy, which rules out marriage. Teachings of the church also emphasize a priest’s work should not be distracted by marriage. This position is not shared by other Christian denominations.