Former St. Philip Priest Resigns Amid Embezzlement Investigations
Michigan State Police are investigating a Catholic priest suspected of embezzlement from two area parishes. The Reverend Richard Fritz turned in his resignation to Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley on Thursday. An internal audit into the finances of St. Mary’s Assumption in Bronson and St. Barbara in Colon was turned over to Michigan State Police. The Diocese says that a six figure amount relates to suspected inappropriate checks distributed for six years starting in 2010. The Diocese says they began its internal review of the matter after suspected irregularities were reported last spring. Fritz’s access to parish funds was removed in June. The Diocese says they are reviewing financial records of both parishes prior to 2010 to identify additional potential losses.
The 69 year old Fritz was stationed at St. Philip in Battle Creek in the late 70’s. Father Fritz was ordained into priesthood May 23, 1975. Here are his past with the Kalamazoo Diocese:
- 1990-October 6, 2016Pastor St. Mary Parish, Bronson
- 1996-July 1, 2016 Pastor St. Barbara Mission, Colon
- 1988-1990 Pastor St. Basil Parish, South Haven
- 1983-1988 Pastor Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Bridgman
- 1980-1983 Associate Pastor St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Coldwater
- 1978-1980 Associate Pastor St. Philip Parish, Battle Creek
Upon accepting the resignation of the Reverend Fritz as pastor and the Bishop has temporarily suspended his ability to exercise public ministry. Father Fritz will no longer reside at the rectory.
The Very Reverend Mark Vyverman, who is the Dean of the Eastern Deanery and pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Coldwater and Our Lady of Fatima in Union City will assume the role of pastor of St. Mary’s Assumption Parish.