BAKERSFIELD,Calif — As more information on Monsignor Craig Harrison unfolds, 23ABC is reaching out to the community to hear their response. St. Francis is currently hosting their 17th Annual Parish Barbecue at their site. Members of the parish say they are in full support of Monsignor Craig.
“The allegations are very shocking and hit me down to the core,” said Ray Ramirez, a parish member.
Ray Ramirez and his wife Lupe Ramirez have been attending St. Francis Church in Bakersfield for the past eight years and were surprised by the allegations against Monsignor Craig Harrison.
“He helped me find my calling in the church, [and] my ministry to help the church with my own ministries,” said Ray Ramirez. "He's a man of God this unbelievable I cannot believe this.”
Harrison was placed on administrative leave today pending the investigation of sexual misconduct with a minor.
“Everyone who knows him just loves him," Lupe Ramirez added. "He’s just that type of person, he's very loving and kind."
Prayers were asked for Harrison today during the 12:30 p.m. mass.
“I will continue to pray for you. [And] to your accuser I will say this as well, too, I forgive him from my heart, for what he did to you,” said Ray Ramirez. “And I know you have already forgiven him too.”
The chief of operations for St. Francis, Francis Moore, says they plan to share the news with the church this weekend. “Just because one priest did it or even 10, doesn’t mean every one of them is guilty and I know Craig personally,” said parish member Becky Cummings.
Cummings has known Monsignor Craig for over 40 years and says she doesn’t believe it and she has a message for Monsignor Craig: “Fight it, fight it, Craig."