Milwaukee church where sex abuse occurred is rededicated

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2004

MILWAUKEE (AP) A Roman Catholic parish where a man said he was sexually abused as a teen decades ago held a Sunday rededication ceremony to cleanse it of sin.

Michael Sneesby and other abuse victims said the ceremony they had requested gave Catholics chance to reclaim the church and abuse victims a chance to reclaim their faith.

Aided by Sneesby's two sons, the parish priest anointed the front doors, walls, pulpit and altar with sacred oil and dispensed incense, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

''This is something I've wanted for a long time,'' said Sneesby, 47, his voice shaking as he stood at the altar of St. Augustine Catholic Church. ''I lost part of my childhood ... But (my abuser) could not take God or my faith away from me.''

Sneesby has identified the Rev. Frederick Bistricky as the priest who abused him. Bistricky, now retired, is challenging the allegations. Church officials said last year that Sneesby's abuse was substantiated.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan approved the rededication after meeting with Sneesby.

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