HOLLIDAYSBURG – During the past week, Bishop Mark Bartchak of the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese received a complaint alleging behavior inconsistent with church ministry on the part of the Rev. David R. Rizzo, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Altoona, the diocese announced Saturday.
The complaint does not involve minors.
Upon notice of the complaint, Rizzo requested a leave of absence from ministry, which Bartchak granted, effective immediately.
Rizzo will not be residing at the parish, and he is not permitted to exercise priestly ministry.
Rizzo, 44, was ordained a priest in 1999. He was appointed administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes in 2009 and pastor in 2010.
Diocese spokesman Tony DeGol said that Rizzo was in residence at St. Francis Xavier Parish from July 2000-July 2003, and was sacramental minister at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown from July 2003-June 2006.
Parishioners are being informed of Rizzo’s status at Masses this weekend. A letter from the bishop will be read at all Liturgies.
Bartchak will appoint a temporary administrator for the parish, and visiting priests will celebrate weekend Masses. Any changes regarding the weekday Mass schedule will be announced to parishioners. All other parish activities will continue as scheduled.