to be dad, no longer lead St. Mary's
McFalls is leaving the church and worries about the ongoing renovation.
RAIG SANDERS/The Record
Dean McFalls, former pastor of St. Mary's Church, did not take a vow of poverty when he was ordained a Catholic priest.
Incorrect information appeared in the print and initial online version of this article.
The error has been corrected.
STOCKTON - Father Dean McFalls, one of Stockton's higher-profile and more outspoken Catholic priests, is no longer pastor of St. Mary's Church.
"I am the father of a child coming into this world," said McFalls
, whose final day was Saturday.
McFalls, ordained for 18 years and the popular pastor of St. Mary's for five years, is taking a "personal leave of absence from active ministry," according to a written statement from Bishop Stephen Blaire.
cannot administer the sacraments or wear clerical garb.
McFalls, 58, active in Stockton's Latino community, has been a chaplain with the Police Department.
On Tuesday, he
turned in his
keys and badge.
In 2011 and '12, when Stockton was enduring record-breaking homicide rates, the man known as Father Dean was presiding over dozens of victims' funerals.
is uncertain of his
said the diocese no longer pays him a salary, but that accrued vacation pay and benefits will be sufficient for six months.
"I ... hope to return to priestly ministry," he
"I am not justified in being unfaithful in my vow," McFalls
"I ask for forgiveness."
The unborn child is a son, and McFalls
said the pregnancy was almost full term.
would not comment on the adult mother or their relationship.
"I look forward to the day when a married man can be a priest without having to come through the back door," McFalls said.
, born and raised in Seattle, was affiliated with the Mother Teresa-inspired Missionaries of Charity before arriving in Stockton in 2008.
own letter to parishioners, McFalls
said, "I leave the parish not only saddened by my own human errors and the consequences which you must suffer ... but also deeply exhausted."
letter also said that he
would "do all that I can so that my child receives the care and love that he
apologized for any "grief, hurt or sense of abandonment" the St. Mary's congregation might experience.
The diocese in recent weeks has been dealing with the specter of Chapter 11 bankruptcy stemming from 22 sexual-abuse lawsuit settlements totalling $18.7 million.
didn't want to hide the coming birth and wanted to avoid a scandal.
"What I did not want was to make the child or mother suffer for my sins," McFalls
"I don't want this child growing up in the shadows.
The last thing you want is for an innocent child to suffer or go in exile or be terminated because of my mistakes.
I am a pro-life priest in a pro-life church."
final day, McFalls
performed a baptism, presided over a quinceañera, taught children in a classroom and wiped down chairs wet from the rain for the outdoor wedding of City Councilwoman Dyane Burgos.
"It was such an honor to wipe down those chairs," he
"Such an honor.
Read the full statements from Father Dean McFalls
and Bishop Stephen Blaire. (PDF File)