The Rev. Francis “Frank” Lawlor, administrator of Sacred Heart Parish on Elm St. in Pittsfield, has been placed on administrative leave by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. The leave is effective immediately he returns depends on the pending legal charges the priest is facing.

The following statement appears on the Catholic Communications website:

Father Francis “Frank” Lawlor, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield, has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately pending the outcome of a private legal matter.

Father Lawlor has most recently been serving as administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield.  That parish community was informed of the action in a statement read at all Masses this weekend, Nov. 14-15.

The Diocese of Springfield’s apostolic administrator, Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, has placed the parish’s day-to-day pastoral and administrative care under the guidance of Msgr. Michael Shershanovich, pastor of neighboring St. Joseph Parish in Pittsfield.  

Masslive reports that according to Pittsfield Police, Lawlor was charged with open and gross lewdness after allegedly urinating outside an Elm Street grinder shop on May 10. In addition, he had reportedly been asked to leave the shop because he was not wearing a mask and following COVID-19 restrictions.

Two employees told police that they witnessed the incident with one saying Lawlor was “spraying pee all over.” Lawlor reportedly to police he had urinated on the bushes but said he did so because he “couldn’t hold it any longer.”

 A Nov. 10 hearing in Pittsfield District Court has been rescheduled to a future date.
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