Children’s visit to the Church
Children’s Visits to Star of the Sea Church, Summer 2016
In the fall of 2016, Archbishop Cordileone asked for an investigation into two visits (June 28 and July 8) to Star of the Sea Church by students attending Star of the Sea summer school. These children knocked on the sacristy door that faces the parking lot/ playground and asked for permission to enter the church. They were accompanied by one or more playground attendants. Adult female parishioners who were either taking care of flowers or altar supplies, or praying in the adoration chapel showed the children the flower room, the sacristy, the sanctuary, and the adoration chapel. Fr. Joseph Illo was present and answered the children’s questions, but at no time was he alone with any of the children.
The reason for the investigation into these visits to the church was that some serious allegations were made against Fr. Illo, accusing him of breaking safety rules by approaching children on the playground and taking them without permission into the church. Stories about these charges were circulated among Star of the Sea parents, and some of them interpreted these rumors in the worst possible way. Understandably some parents were upset by these stories. Some wrote letters to the chancery.
Below is the letter from the superintendent of schools that resulted from the investigation, which proved that Fr. Illo had done nothing wrong.