Instead of a homily at the 4:30pm mass, the monsignor read a prepared statement and also addressed the investigation. He urged everyone to keep Father Jerry in their prayers, a pastor who is loved among parishioners.
Reverend Geraldo Pinero stepped down as pastor of Incarnation of Our Lord Parish Church in Olney following a raid by federal agents. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia stated it's for the good of the parish, pending the outcome of the investigation.
The news floored parishioners as they went into Saturday afternoon mass.
On Tuesday, agents from US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement served a search warrant for the rectory. A source told Action News his computer and other materials were confiscated from his living quarters.
Officials declined to comment on the focus of the investigation, but we have learned it has nothing to do with immigration and is a customs enforcement matter.
Cardinal Justin Rigali appointed Monsignor Hugh Shields, vicar for Hispanic Catholics in the Archdiocese, as parochial administrator of the parish, but Shields was clear he is not replacing the pastor.
Parishioners hope to have Father Jerry back to continue the work he's done.
"Unbelievable work. yes, and he was here all by himself. He didn't have any other priests with him. And he did all that nice work by himself," said Carol Sharkey.
Monsignor Shields has been in communication with Father Jerry. He told the parish, Father Jerry is on a spiritual retreat and is keeping the parish in his prayers. He also urged not to rush to judgement.