BRIDGEVILLE (KDKA) — His name is Miraslov Stalmaschek, but his parishioners at St. Barbara Roman Catholic Church in Bridgeville affectionately call him Fr. Miro.
So when the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese asked for his resignation last week many were heartbroken.
“That’s when I lost faith in the Catholic Church, it’s sad,” said Grace Rowland, a parishioner. “And, I’m probably going to cry because I know this man and all these letter from all these people, they’re sickened by this.”
Fr. Miro and the church secretary, Judy Brennan, sparred over parish finances. A church audit found irregularity by both.
Fr. Ron Lengwin, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, says when Bishop David Zubik could not broker peace, he asked both to resigns.
“There is a problem here, and sometimes it’s best just to begin all over again,” said Fr. Lengwin.
“No one has come into this parish and asked the parishioners, what do you want. It was all decisions made by from higher ups because l believe it’s a cover-up.”
Rowland and four other parishioners have taken financial documents to the Allegheny County District Attorney.
They say they blame Brennan for financial irregularities and add that Fr. Miro is being punished as a whistleblower.
“That’s the story, but it’s completely false,” said Rowland.
Fr. Lengwin calls the situation a family matter — deeper than what meet the eye.
“You can’t always give them all the information you’d like to give them, and sometime it leads to a solution that may not seem like the best solution; but from a family perspective, it is,” Fr. Lengwin said.
Brennan could not be reached for comment. Fr. Miro is visiting his native Poland.
Fr. Lengwin says he will not being returning to St. Barbara’s when he returns; instead, Bishop Zubik will be giving him a new assignment.