A group of St. Isabel Catholic Church parishioners gather for a candlelight vigil to commemorate the two year anniversary of Fr. Christopher Senk being relieved of his duties as the church's pastor. Photo provided
A group of St. Isabel Catholic Church parishioners gather for a candlelight vigil to commemorate the two year anniversary of Fr. Christopher Senk being relieved of his duties as the church's pastor. Photo provided

More than 125 people gathered Sunday, Nov. 4, for a candlelight vigil commemorating the two year anniversary of Fr. Christopher Senk being placed on administrative leave from St. Isabel Catholic Church by Bishop Frank Dewane.

Senk was relieved of his duties as pastor of St. Isabel on Oct. 28, 2016 following accusations of financially exploiting an elderly parishioner by her wealthy Baltimore family. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office found no evidence to criminally charge Senk, but he remains on leave.

Senk has been forced from the parish home and forbidden to celebrate Mass publicly or return to church property without explicit permission.

Not only has the administrative leave caused great harm to Fr. Christopher and his reputation, it has also seriously disrupted the lives of the entire St. Isabel community,” said Lori Schulz, a supporter of Senk.

For the past two years, a group of more than 500 St. Isabel parishioners have steadfastly supported Senk, financially enabling him to present a defense to Rome where his case has been sent. In spite of his absence from the church, Senk was voted Humanitarian of the Year in Sanibel’s 2018 “Best of the Islands.”

The vigil was held in the parking lot of the former Doc Ford’s restaurant, across the street from St. Isabel, due to the parishioners being denied permission to hold the service of song and prayer on church property.