A sad ending to a tragic story… Scranton Diocesan Priest Dies

I am refraining from any comment as it may be construed as insensitive or disrespectful. I will say that any loss of life is tragic, especially when it could have been prevented.

From the Citizen’s Voice in Pennsylvania:

Priest dies in Minn. while seeking drug treatment

By Jeremy G. Burton (Staff Writer)
Published: March 5, 2010
A local Catholic priest with a history of drug problems died Thursday afternoon in Minnesota, where he was seeking treatment at a rehabilitation facility.

The Rev. James B. Shimsky, 50, was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., after “developing a medical problem,” the Diocese of Scranton said on its Web site. He had been residing at a nearby rehab program. Shimsky was arrested Jan. 30 after police said he was seen buying cocaine from his parked car in North Philadelphia. Since July, he was pastor of St. John Vianny parish in Scott Township, though he had been on leave since his arrest. He also previously served in Wilkes-Barre, Tunkhannock, Dunmore and Carverton.

Shimsky was known to be open with parishioners about having a history of addiction. He volunteered ministering to recovering addicts at Clearbrook Manor.

Diocese spokesman William Genello said he did not know anything about the cause of Shimsky’s death.

Bishop-elect Joseph C. Bambera called Shimsky’s passing a “great loss.”

“He had willingly embraced his treatment program, and he was working hard to address his issues,” Bambera said in a statement.

Shimsky was a Scranton native, ordained in 2001.


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