Pray for this heroic priest
March 28, 2008
Priest burned in rectory fire at St. Martin’s Church resigns
By Jennifer Keefe | Friday, March 28, 2008
SOMERSWORTH — The Rev. Aaron Pfaff, a priest at St. Martin Catholic Church, Holy Trinity Church and St. Mary Church in Rollinsford, New Hampshire announced Wednesday he will say his last Mass on Sunday, April 13, and resign effective Tuesday, April 15.
Pfaff’s resignation comes after what St. Martin’s Finance Committee Chairman Marty Dumont called a “really tough year” for the priest, who suffered burns in a rectory fire at St. Martin’s in February 2007.
After a lengthy recovery from heat exposure and burns on about 7 percent of his body and also picking up the pieces after the fire and restoring the damaged rectory, things took their toll, according to Pastoral Council President FX Bruton.
“We understand he needs some time to recuperate from the fire and deal with those issues,” Bruton said. “We still consider him a part of the parish family and always will.”
Dumont called Rev. Pfaff “by far one of the greatest priests I’ve had an opportunity to work with in my life.”
“It’s hard to see him go, but we support his decision,” Bruton said.
The rectory will finally be complete and ready to be used once again by next week, according to Dumont.
Pfaff has since been living in Madbury on a farm with his dog Grace, a bull mastiff, who was also in the church at the time of the fire but not injured.
Dumont said he understands Pfaff’s reasons for resignation and expressed his admiration for the priest’s work at St. Martin’s Church.
“I consider Father Aaron one of the real strengths of the Catholic Church,” Dumont said. “He empowered people. He really believes the church is for the people and he operated on that principal. He’s just been a pleasure to work with.”
Bruton emphasized there was a “great amount of support” for Pfaff while he was with the parish and he had great influence on all those who came in contact with him.
“His impact is not only significant for parishes, but for a lot of people on an individual basis,” Bruton said.
Father Richard Tetu from the Manchester Diocese will be taking over for Pfaff after April 15.