St. Clair Shores parish removes deacon amid probe
A deacon of a Catholic church in St. Clair Shores is under investigation for allegedly misusing parish funds, according to the church.
Mike Barthel, deacon and business manager of St. Joan of Arc Parish, is under investigation by the Macomb County Sheriff's Office for possible misuse of funds, officials said in a letter sent to the parish community Saturday.
"It is with sadness that I must share some news with you regarding our parish community," Monsignor G. Michael Bugarin wrote. "Mike Barthel, our deacon for the past ten years and business manager since 2016, is under investigation by the Macomb County Sheriff's Office for possible misuse of parish funds."
Bugarin wrote Barthel is no longer employed by the parish.
"Because of this development, he will no longer serve as the deacon at our parish and his ability to present himself as a deacon has been restricted by the Archdiocese of Detroit," Bugarin wrote.
Barthel, a father of three, was ordained in 2008. He attended Wayne State University, Macomb Community College and Sacred Heart Major Seminary, according to the church website. He joined the church shortly after he was ordained and became the business manager in 2016.
Neither the Macomb County Sheriff's Office nor the church have disclosed what occurred or how much money was involved.
"Please join me in praying for all those involved, including Deacon Mike, each other, and our entire parish community," Bugarin wrote.