St. Pat's priest leaving after allegedly taking money
It was announced at Hudson's St. Patrick Church Sunday that Father Dan Dahlberg is leaving the parish after allegedly taking about $10,800 from the parish charity account for his own use.
In a letter distributed at church Sunday, it stated that "It is very likely that this misconduct is the result of a serious gambling addiction which has lead to personal financial issues and impaired Father Dan's judgment."
The letter, signed by church board trustees Samuel Cari and Claire Zajac, also recommended the Diocese support Dahlberg in obtaining the professional assistance he needs. The letter said that arrangements have been made for Dahlberg to repay the full amount.
The parish charity account involves funds to help needy families in confidence. It is the one fund that the pastor has sole access to, and discretion for its distribution.
"We have no reason to believe any other parish accounts were affected, including our collection/income accounts or parish/school accounts," the letter said. "We have a system of accounting which is based on checks and balances and permitted us to detect this misconduct and take action to rectify it."
Dahlberg, 68, conducted his final services in Hudson Sunday - the same day the information was disclosed to parishioners. Dahlberg came to Hudson July 1, 2009 replacing Father John Parr, who was transferred to La Crosse. He came to town with 43 years of experience.
Father Gene Murphy has been appointed temporary Parochial Administrator at the church. Bishop Peter Christensen will be in Hudson for services Saturday and Sunday (March 26 and 27) and will answer questions. The church also plans to hold a previously scheduled Town Hall meeting Sunday, March 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. and will address the situation at that meeting.
After being ordained in 1967, Father Dahlberg served numerous congregations. They include Rice Lake (1967-1972); Barron/Cameron (1972-1977); New Richmond (1977-1984); graduate studies (1984-1985); Iron River/Port Wing/Herbster (1985); River Falls (1985-1994); and Osceola/Centuria/Balsam Lake (1994-1998).
Dahlberg served as rector at Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior (1998-2009) and has been victor general of the diocese from 1998 to the present. In that position he worked with the bishop on various projects.
St. Patrick Church is the largest in the Superior Diocese. Dahlberg said when he came in 2009 that the parish has 1,800 to 2,000 families.