BAY RIDGE — Father Gerard Sauer, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, has resigned from his position in the wake of allegations against him of “inappropriate behavior with adults,” Bishop Robert Brennan announced.
In a letter that was read aloud to parishioners attending Masses at St. Patrick’s Church over the April 2-3 weekend, Bishop Brennan wrote that with “profound regret” he had to announce Father Sauer’s resignation.
“Unfortunately, I write to inform you we have received allegations against Father Gerard Sauer of inappropriate behavior with adults in violation of Priestly Holy Orders,” Bishop Brennan wrote.
When made aware of the allegations, Father Sauer resigned as pastor and “will presently not be exercising priestly ministry,” Bishop Brennan wrote in the letter that was read by Auxiliary Bishop Neil Tiedemann.
The Tablet reached Father Sauer by phone on Monday. He declined to comment.
Bishop Brennan dispatched the Diocesan Healing Intervention Team to St. Patrick’s Church to be available after Masses “to provide clarification, information, and pastoral care” to parishioners.
Bishop Brennan has appointed Father Robert Adamo, pastor of St. Ephrem Parish in Dyker Heights, as temporary administrator of St. Patrick’s Church.
Father Adamo, who planned to meet with the staff at St. Patrick’s Church on Monday, said his goal is to help the parish heal.
“Right now that’s my number one priority — to support them and care for them in any way I can to bring about healing,” he told The Tablet. “I’m sure that whether it’s staff or parishioners, there’s a lot of emotions going on right now.”
Father Adamo promised to make himself available for whatever staff and parishioners might need.
“If they want to talk to me, I will be there to listen,” he said. “I want to listen to them and begin this journey, hopefully, towards healing together as the parish family.”
Father Sauer has served as pastor of St. Patrick’s Church since 2019, but his history with the church dates back more than 20 years.
St. Patrick’s was the first church he was assigned to serve after he was ordained into the priesthood in June 2001.
He served there from 2001 to 2006. He went on to serve several years as the pastor of the Church of St. Mel in Flushing before returning to St. Patrick’s three years ago.
In addition to his duties as pastor, Father Sauer was also the director of pilgrimages for the diocese and played a key role in planning trips to World Youth Day.