Birmingham Pastor to Lead Troy Church During Archdiocese Investigation
Msgr. John Zenz will take charge of the St. Thomas More Parish after an audit revealed leadership there may have misappropriated $429,000 over six years.
Msgr. John Zenz, the leader of Birmingham's Holy Name Catholic Church, will be in charge of the St. Thomas More parish in Troy after allegations of financial mishaps ended up in the temporary removal of its leadership.
The Rev. Edward Belczak was asked to step aside as pastor at the Troy church, located on North Adams Road, after an audit by the Archdiocese of Detroit revealed "questionable financial transactions and practices."
In total, according to a statement released by the archdiocese Tuesday, Belczak may have misappropriated $429,000 over six years, funneling some of that money to pay his salary and some to a "ghost employee."
During the investigation involving both the archdiocese and the Troy Police Department, Belczak has been removed from the office of pastor and will not be staying at his residence on church grounds.
According to the archdiocese's statement, Belczak's public ministry as a priest is not impacted at this time.
Belczak has been at St. Thomas More since 1984, before that working as an associate pastor at Our Lady Of Sorrows in Farmington, and as a co-pastor and associate pastor at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak.
Belczak was ordained in 1972, receiving his education at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth.
On the Troy Patch Facebook page, the reaction was largely shocked and sympathetic to Belczak.
"As a longtime parishoner of (St. Thomas More), this is shocking to me and saddens me so much," wrote Amy Pasternak Gora, with Jean Crane adding, "Fr. Belczak is not an accountant, he is a great priest and we support him 100 percent."
Besides serving at Birmingham's Holy Name Church, Zenz is also episcopal vicor for the Northwest Region and will remain with St. Thomas More during the investigation.
According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, St. Thomas serves about 2,500 families in Oakland County.
Neither Belczak nor Zenz could be reached for comment Wednesday.