Just three months after taking over the pulpit at Calistoga’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Father Adam Kotas is leaving to head the St. Joseph Parish at Crescent City.
Replacing him will be Father Angelito Peries, the longtime head of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Windsor.
The brevity of Kotas’ tenure should not have come as a surprise, said Deirdre Frontczak, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Santa Rosa. It was part of a broad reshuffling of the priests in the district announced in April by Bishop Robert Vasa.
Frontczak said some people have inquired about the reassignments, which were unusually far-reaching, and some had speculated that there might be some deeper meaning or nefarious story behind it.
“It has nothing to do with any of that,” she said. “I think a lot of it is that some parishes have really fast-growing, young Hispanic populations.”
The changes announced by Vasa affected 22 priests and six central office staff members in the 165,000-member diocese. The diocese has 42 parishes and covers Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties.
Kotas is young, just 28, and is fluent in Spanish, characteristics the bishop wanted in Crescent City, Frontczak said. The move is a step up and a mark of favor for the young priest.
Peries, Calistoga’s new pastor, has spent 16 years as head of the parish in Windsor. He took over in 1996 and helped guide the parish through a crisis after his well-respected predecessor, the late Rev. Vincent O’Neill, was accused of abusing several young men in the 1970s, according to news coverage in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat at the time.