New pastor announced days after Columbia City priest was accused of sexually abusing minor

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COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) — A week after a Columbia City Catholic priest resigned from his duties at Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City, a replacement has been announced.

Monday night, Bishop Kevin Rhoades introduced the congregation to Father Jose Arroyo. The Puerto Rico native most recently served at a parish in Goshen.

Father Jose Arroyo

“I’m excited to be a part of this healing process here at St. Paul the Cross,” Father Arroyo said. “I love Saint Francis and his rule of wanting to rebuild the church and I think that my role at this point…to know them, to love them, and to serve them and that’s what I’m here for.”

That healing involves former priest Father David Huneck. He is accused of engaging in “sexual and other misconduct, including that with a minor.”

Huneck had served as a pastor at the Columbia City church since 2020. He was also a chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne.

Though he has resigned no charges have been filed. The Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office is still investigating the allegations.

Monday night hundreds filled the Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City, with some parishioners sitting in the lobby area. During the mass, Bishop Rhoades spoke of the heartbreak he has felt over the past few weeks and the hope that this would strengthen the church and members.

“It’s really important that we gather together in prayer,” Bishop Rhoades said. “I’ve been looking forward to coming here to pray together with the people and to celebrate the Eucharist and to introduce the parishioners to brother Jose.”

Bishop Rhoades will decide whether to permanently install Father Arroyo at the parish in June.

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