A different role and a different city for Father Thomas Donovan. The former pastor at St. Aloysius will be chaplain to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.
Donovan called 911 from church’s rectory when he couldn’t get out of handcuffs. Responders found a gag device in his mouth as well, he reportedly was alone at the time. The incident led to a mental health investigation from a special panel, which concluded Donovan could be slowly reintroduced into the ministry.
“The Chaplain will provide the Sacraments for the Sisters,” says Springfield Catholic Diocese spokeswoman Kathie Sass. “The presence of ministry in their religious community, many religious communities, have full time Chaplains.”
The panel’s findings included:
1. “Father [Donovan] was alone at the time of the incident. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Rumors to the contrary to be based only on speculation.”
2. “There is no information to suggest Father [Donovan] is a danger to himself or others.”
3. “If Father [Donovan] is to continue in ministry, ongoing professional care is imperative.”
4. “If ongoing reports of the mental health professionals you find there are roles for Father Donovan in the Springfield Diocese, we believe that a gradual reintroduction to priestly ministry is appropriate.”
5. “A request for pastoral concerns of any community to which Father [Donovan] might be assigned is important for the welfare of both the community and Father [Donovan].”
6. “Father [Donovan's] ministerial and theraputic progress should be regularly and carefully monitored for the foreseeable future.”
Sass says the panel will monitor Donovan’s treatment and says it is up to the Bishop whether to reinstate Donovan in a ministerial role in the future. To listen to the full conversation between Kathie Sass and WTAX’s Kirk Farah, click play on the audio link below.