As the Archdiocese of Philadelphia remains tight-lipped regarding the suspension and examination of Father Louis C. Bier of here, those who know him hope for more information soon.
Joe Maccolini, executive director of the , a non-profit with a food bank and summer camp in Norristown, spoke with Patch about the priest he worked closely with for five years while Bier was pastor of from 1997-2002.
Bier also served in Manayunk and West Philadelphia before coming to Springfield last May. Maccolini said he’s remained in contact with him intermittently over years.
In a issued to inquiring media outlets, the archdiocese said Bier’s suspension is “not related to a complaint of inappropriate behavior with minors.”
“There was never any indication of that around here at any time,” Maccolini said. “When I found out he was removed, that thought never crossed my mind – and I’m pretty astute about those things with the summer camp and the importance of safety. It was not an issue with Father Bier, ever.”
Maccolini said he would like the archdiocese to put forth more information regarding Bier’s suspension because “when they don’t say anything people assume the worst. It’s human nature. The archdiocese should tell us – to make it easier for those who know and love him.”
Maccolini vouched for Bier using the words heroic, caring and compassionate to describe instances when the priest went “above and beyond” for parishioners.
Bier even performed funeral masses at neighboring churches for families who requested it, as he did for Maccolini at Holy Savior Church at the time of his mother’s death in 1999.
Maccolini recalled Bier’s ability to console him after the death of his parents.
“That was 13 years ago and I still remember his kind words,” he said adding that it wasn’t out of character for Bier to “go out of his way" to help people.
“He underwent major, elective, surgery to help someone out,” Maccolini said. Father Bier donated a kidney to a family member some years ago.
“He’s not a milquetoast, he stood firmly on issues,” he said. “We didn’t always see eye to eye but I always knew where he stood. He wore his heart on his sleeve.”