Michelle Armstrong attended regular Sunday Night Mass at Our Lady Of Calvary Parish in Northeast Philadelphia not expecting to hear it's leader of 13 years, Father John Paul resigned amid child sexual abuse allegations.
"I haven't heard anything through the grapevine so this really surprised me," Armstrong said.
She got the word from church leaders who say the allegations date back more than 40 years…during father Paul's time in seminary and it took time for the news to sink in.
"It was quiet. It was solemn. People had time to kind of grieve" Armstrong said.
The Archdioceses Of Philadelphia says it learned of the accusations earlier this year and allowed Paul to stay at the parish under a watchful eye.
Officials say he was later banned from having unsupervised contact with minors but church officials say it was his choice to leave out of emotional stress caused by the investigation.
"Being that he resigned his position I think that's a good thing. It shows that he's interested in getting help for himself if that's what he needs, if he needs all the time to receive that. It's a good thing that he's no longer pastor at the church," church member Marta Vazquez said.
Church leaders say none of the alleged victims were ever members of this parish, but those we talked with want to see sweeping change in a scandal still hitting too close to home.
"My prayers are with our new Pope that he can be a lot more diligent in getting to the bottom of these allegations and making our church what it should be." Armstrong said.
Saturday (79/68): AM Rain, PM Clouds
Saturday (79/68): AM Rain PM Clouds
Sunday (81/68): Cloudy, Showers & T-Storms