Archbishop John C. Nienstedt announced today the resignation of the Father Peter Laird as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, effective immediately.
“Over the last few years, this Archdiocese has made significant progress in many areas, including how we have strengthened policies and practices regarding clergy misconduct. The challenge to do better can never end until we have done everything in our power to prevent all acts of misconduct,” Father Laird said.
“I am hopeful my decision to step aside at this time, along with the formation of a new task force can help repair the trust of many, especially the victims of abuse,” he said. “I know the leadership, the dedicated staff and my fellow priests in the Archdiocese are sincerely committed to proactively addressing these difficult issues.”
Father Laird has served since November 2009 in the position which is responsible for assisting the Archbishop in the general care and administration of the archdiocese. Father Laird will continue to serve in a variety of roles within the archdiocese, including as the temporary administrator at the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood.
"Father Laird has provided great leadership and excellent vision for this local Church, and I am grateful for his dedication and service to the Archdiocese during his years as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia," Archbishop Nienstedt said.
Archbishop Nienstedt also announced that Reverend Charles Lachowitzer, pastor of the Church of Saint John Neumann in Eagan and a Regional Vicar, has been appointed as successor to Father Laird as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. Father Lachowitzer will begin his new responsibilities after a transition in leadership at Saint John Neumann.
"Fr. Lachowitzer’s highest priority, as is mine, will be to ensure that the special Task Force I called for last week can operate with full integrity and ensure that no stone is left unturned to prevent harm to anyone due to clergy misconduct," Archbishop Nienstedt said. “We will announce details about the task force in the coming week.”
Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché, who holds the office of Vicar General of the archdiocese, will serve as Moderator of the Curia on an interim basis until Father Lachowitzer is able to fully transition into the role.
Bishop Piché previously served in that position for the archdiocese in 2008-2009.
Father Lachowitzer was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1990, following his graduation from Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. Prior to his appointment as pastor at Saint John Neumann in 2002, he was an associate priest at the Church of St. Michael in Stillwater and later served as pastor of the Church of the Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary.