Morrilton pastor has parish, diocesan support

Father Charles Thessing, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Morrilton, remains a “priest in good standing” following the announcement May 4 that he was charged with a class C felony for allegedly attempting to bring tobacco, a banned item, into the Varner Supermax Unit in Lincoln County March 23.
Dennis Lee, chancellor for administrative affairs, issued a statement for the diocese, saying, “Father Charles Thessing’s status as a priest in good standing with the diocese remains unchanged. He currently serves as the pastor for Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Morrilton where he is admired and greatly appreciated. As for the charges filed (May 4), these will be addressed within the context of the legal process with no further comment from the diocese at this time.”
According to an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a bag of tobacco was found on the priest following a routine pat-down search at the prison entrance. Kyle Hunter, prosecuting attorney for Jefferson and Lincoln counties, said Father Thessing was charged with one count of introducing prohibited articles into a correctional facility.
As part of his assigned duties from Bishop Taylor, Father Thessing visits the prisons and ministers to men on death row. The Arkansas Department of Correction has barred him from visiting inmates since the March incident.

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