In a letter given to Our Lady of Grace parishioners in Aurora during the April 25-26 weekend, Fr. Joe Gorman said that he has decided to leave the priesthood. Register file photo

Fr. Gorman chooses to leave the priesthood

  • April 27, 2015

TORONTO - A popular parish priest who was asked to step aside for a “period of reflection” has declined the opportunity and has decided he will leave the priesthood.

At the end of January, Fr. Joe Gorman was asked by Cardinal Thomas Collins to take some time away from Our Lady of Grace parish in Aurora to reflect on his role as pastor after the archdiocese confirmed financial issues and two cases of “serious civil and ecclesiastical irregularities” related to weddings performed by Gorman.

Gorman informed his former parishioners of his decision in a letter read at Our Lady of Grace Masses over the April 25-26 weekend.

“The journey we have been on and I say we, because it affected us all, has not been easy, but after a lot of prayer, thought and family support, I have decided to leave the priesthood,” Gorman wrote in his letter.

“My heart and my mind are made up and I am happy with my decision. It is my decision and mine alone.”

The 38-year-old priest, who was ordained in 2008, was found to have performed a marriage in which one of the parties had failed to obtain an annulment of a previous marriage. In a more serious incident, he married a Catholic couple in an Anglican chapel despite being expressly denied permission by the archdiocese to do so. He then falsified a copy of the marriage record to conceal his participation in the marriage, according to an archdiocese spokesman.

There were also instances of improper accounting, though the archdiocese found no reason to believe Gorman received any financial benefit when he failed to follow protocols that “provide transparency to protect both the community and the pastor.”
Collins also wrote Our Lady of Grace parishioners, thanking them for their patience and prayers. Collins said it saddens him “any time a priest decides to leave the priesthood,” and thanked Gorman for his many contributions to the faithful.

Fr. Thomas Lim has been administrator of the parish and will continue in this role until the summer when a new pastor is appointed, said Collins.

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