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Suspended priest returning to active ministry

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ARCHDIOCESE — The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has returned Father Clarence Heis to priestly ministry effective March 19, following three years on administrative leave. He will reside in Cincinnati and celebrate the sacraments in the archdiocese as needed.

Father Heis, 55, was put on leave by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk after he was arrested Oct. 19, 2005 at a park in Fairborn. He later pled no contest to charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was fined and sentenced. No minors were involved in the incident.

While on leave, during which he has not been permitted to present himself as a priest, Father Heis received counseling to address the issues related to this incident. He has fulfilled the terms of his probation, and his psychologist has advised the archdiocese that it would be suitable for Father Heis to return to active ministry.

“I am sorry for what happened,” said Father Heis, “and I apologize to those I have hurt by my actions. I am grateful for the support I have received from my family and friends.”

Archbishop Pilarczyk reaffirmed that the church demands and that he expects priests of the Archdiocese to live in accord with the demands of celibate chastity.

Father Heis served as associate pastor at St. Thomas More Parish in Withamsville following ordination in 1982 and at Guardian Angels Parish in Mt. Washington from 1983 until 1989, when he became an Air Force chaplain, serving in the Persian Gulf. In 1992, he was assigned to Holy Trinity Parish in Coldwater as an associate until he was named pastor of St. Michael Parish in Mechanicsburg and Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg in 1993.

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