Following the discovery of questionable financial transactions and practices during an Archdiocese of Detroit audit at St. Thomas More Parish, Troy, Father Edward Belczak has been required to temporarily step aside as pastor pending further steps by Church officials. Effective January 22, 2013, Father Belczak, 67, under the language of canon (Church) law, has been “temporarily excluded from the office of pastor,” meaning he cannot function as the parish’s pastor until an administrative review process is completed. While he will not remain in residence at St. Thomas More Parish, Father Belczak’s public ministry as a priest is not impacted at this time.
The alleged misappropriation and mismanagement include:
- Taking excess compensation beyond archdiocesan policies, estimating a loss of $92,000 to the parish over the past six years.
- Accepting and directing funds to himself that should have been posted to parish accounts, estimating a loss to the parish of $16,000 over the past six years.
- Compensating, with benefits, an individual best described as a “ghost employee,” estimating a loss of $240,000 to the parish over the past six years.
- Maintaining improper medical/dental insurance coverage for an individual, estimating a loss of approximately $26,000 to the parish over the past six years.
- Authorizing a long-term disability policy for one employee, while not providing a similar benefit to other parish staff members, estimating a loss of $20,000 to the parish.
- Allowing for the operation of the St. Thomas More Travel Group as a parish-related activity, while none of the financial transactions, records or bank accounts were disclosed for financial reporting or official purposes.
- Accepting, but not depositing or recording in parish accounts, residual commission checks to the St. Thomas More Travel Group, estimating a loss of $25,000 to the parish over the past six years.
- Failing to record or deposit monies received through the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day special collections according to archdiocesan policies; failing to monitor currency in an amount over $10,000, found in an employee’s office desk.
Monsignor John Zenz, episcopal vicar of the Northwest Region and pastor of Holy Name Parish, Birmingham, has been named administrator of St. Thomas More Parish.
The Troy Police Department is currently conducting its own investigation. The archdiocese has fully cooperated with civil authorities in this case and will continue to do so.
Father Edward Belczak
Education: Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit
St. John's Provincial Seminary, Plymouth
Ordained: Sept. 3, 1972
1972-1975: Associate Pastor, National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish, Royal Oak
1975-1980: Co-pastor, National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish, Royal Oak
1980-1984: Associate Pastor, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Farmington
1984-2013: Pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, Troy
2013: Temporarily excluded from the office of pastor, St. Thomas More Parish