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Fargo Catholic senior pastor resigns, citing "personal issues"

Brian Bachmeier

The senior pastor at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in south Fargo has resigned.

According to a statement from the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, the Rev. Brian Bachmeier recently approached the diocese "concerning his struggles with certain personal issues."

In the statement, the diocese said Bishop Samuel Aquila and Bachmeier agreed Bachmeier resign as pastor and seek professional help and spiritual direction.

The resignation was accepted Sept. 10.

The news release, issued by Diocese Communications Director Tanya Watterud, also said, "In the interest of being as candid as possible with you, the parishioners at Sts. Anne and Joachim, Bishop Aquila has asked that I fully reassure you, so that you will not feel forced to speculate, that Father Bachmeier's personal issues are wholly unrelated to any kind of abuse of a minor."

The diocese news release said Bachmeier is "presently on retreat."

Phone calls to Bachmeier were not immediately returned.

While Bachmeier has resigned from Sts. Anne and Joachim, he has not been barred from the priesthood.

Watterud said Bachmeier is still a priest and that there is no process being considered by which he could be removed from the priesthood.

According to Forum archives, Bachmeier was ordained as a priest in 1997 at age 27.

He was born in Anamoose, N.D., and studied mechanical engineering at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, before attending Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo and Catholic University of American in Washington, D.C.

Bachmeier also was instrumental in fundraising for an estimated $10 million construction project for a new sanctuary for Sts. Anne and Joachim that is expected to be completed this year.

The diocese has appointed the Rev. Kurt Gunwall as acting administrator of Sts. Anne and Joachim until a new pastor is appointed.