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'Miracle' pastor resigns

AMBRIDGE, Pa. -- The pastor of a Beaver County Roman Catholic church where a crucifix allegedly closed its eyes in the so-called 'miracle in Ambridge' has resigned.

The resignation of the Rev. Vincent Cvitkovic, 51, effective Aug. 4, was revealed Sunday in the weekly bulletin at Holy Trinity Church and confirmed by the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

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Last March, the priest and about 150 parishioners said the eyes of a plaster crucifix of Jesus suspended from the ceiling closed during a Good Friday service. The reports drew crowds and national attention to the church.

A diocesan panel investigated but later discounted reports that any miracle had occurred.

Cvitkovic, who had been pastor of Holy Trinity for nearly four years, went on leave in mid-June and did not return. He has remained in seclusion in a Beaver County monastery.

Diocesan officials said there was no pressure on the priest to resign.

The Rev. Ronald Lengwin, a diocesan spokesman, said Cvitkovic had told church officials he wanted to resign, citing the 'best interest of the church.'

But one close friend of the priest, parishioner John Dunn, said Cvitkovic gave no indication that he would not return when he went on leave.

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'I'm very dissatisfied with the way the whole thing was handled,' Dunn said. 'I respect the clergy, but I think it was a raw deal for Father Vince.'

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