Gaylord Diocesan Watch has been made aware of circumstances involving Fr. Elias Chinzara. In October, parishioners notified us of his termination from serving the parishes of St. Pius, St. Stephens and St. James, in the Hale, MI area. It seems as if Fr. Chinzara was to receive an assignment for pastor in the Gaylord Diocese (Fr. Chinzara is from the Diocese of Mutare, Zimbabwe (Africa) ). However, this mysteriously changed when Bishop Hurley took command as Administrator of the Diocese.
In June 2018, Bishop Raica assigned Fr. Chinzara as Administrator for the parishes of St. James in Whittemore, St. Pius X in Hale and St. Stephen in Skidway Lake. In August of this year, Bishop Hurley announced that Fr. Chinzara was to be “temporary administrator” of the these churches “until other arrangements are made” – a clear demotion from being previously named as an Administrator. Then, in October, Fr. Chinzara was notified that he had been stripped of all duties in the Diocese of Gaylord. He was given less than a month to move out of his living quarters and was ordered to return to his home Diocese. A petition was circulated by concerned parishioners and sent to Bishop Hurley in support of Fr. Chinzara. They received a response from the Diocese explaining that Fr. Chinzara had inappropriately been raising funds/goods for charitable causes in the area of his home diocese in violation of an agreement between the Diocese of Gaylord and his home Diocese of Mutare. This led to his forced removal from the Diocese of Gaylord, according to a letter from Bishop Hurley. Parishioners who have contacted Gaylord Diocesan Watch tell a different story – the priest had no ill intent, was unaware of the restrictions on fundraising for his home Diocese, and that he never willfully disobeyed any Diocesan regulation. Gaylord Diocesan Watch reached out to Fr. Chinzara but we have not received any response from him as of today.
In the process of all of these happenings, many people have donated money and goods. A cargo container full of donated items is on hold from being shipped due to a lack of funds to complete the shipment. So far, the three parishes above have raised $2,700 and a local Methodist church has donated $500 for shipping the container. The cost for shipping is $10,000.
If someone is interested in donating to this cause, please contact Gaylord Diocesan Watch via our Email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The parishioners who have contacted us are adamant that the donation is legitimate. We will continue to monitor this situation.