Rev. Joseph L. Wajda

Summary of Case: Joseph Wajda was accused of the sexual abuse of at least three boys, ages 12-16. One of the boys is said to have gone to him for counseling regarding his sexuality, and another allegedly went to him for support after his grandmother died. Two of Wajda's accusers said the incidents occurred in the early 1970s, and a third said Wajda abused him in 1986. Wajda denied the accusations. He was taken out of parish ministry and served on the archdiocesan Tribunal from 1991 to 2002. He was the Tribunal's Judicial Vicar from 1997-2002. Wajda was laicized in 2016.

: 1973
Incardinated: St. Paul and Minneapolis
Laicized: 2016


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


St. Paul-Minneapolis archbishop was Leo Binz (1961-1975), followed by John Robert Roach (1975-1995)

1977 St. Raphael's


Wajda was accused in a 1989 lawsuit of telling a 12-year-old boy in the early 1970s to remove his clothes and fondle himself after the boy went to him to seek advice about his sexuality. The same boy accused San Raphael priest, Rev. Robert Kapoun, of sexually abusing him.

Wajda was accused in another 1989 lawsuit of sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy in 1974.

MN 3/3

St. Raphael's had a school with 578-513 students.


Kapoun, referred to as the "Polka Padre", was known to have sexually abused boys throughout his decades long career.

1977 1982 Immaculate Conception Columbia Heights MN 3/3, 1/1 Administrator Immaculate Conception had a school with 377-343 students.
1982 1986 St. Rose of Lima



MN 2/3, 2/2 St. Rose of Lima had a school with 410-396 students.
1986   St. Joseph's Waconia MN temporary administrator  
1986   Sts. Peter and Paul Loretto MN temporary administrator  
1986 1987 Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Bohemian)


Wajda was accused of fondling and attempting to rape an eighth grade boy in 1986. The boy is said to have gone to Wajda for support after his grandmother died. Wajda's accuser received a settlement from the archdiocese.

MN 1/1  
1987 1988 St. Andrew's St. Paul MN 1/1  
1988 1990 Special Assignment: Chancery, Pro Tem St. Paul MN    
1990 1991 Blessed Sacrament St. Paul MN 2/2 Blessed Sacrament had a school with 193 students.
1992 1994 Catholic University Washington DC student This assignment is per the archdiocese in Dec. 2013.


Roach was succeeded by Harry Joseph Flynn (1995-2008)

2002 Special Assignment: Tribunal St. Paul MN Judicial Vicar 1996-2002

Wajda is not indexed beyond the 2004 Directory.


 2002  2016        

Permanently removed from ministry in 2003, per the archdiocese.

Living in Minneapolis in Dec. 2013. 

Laicization announced October 1, 2016.  


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1974-2004)

Polka Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct, United Press International, August 22, 1989
Archdiocese Settles Suits Charging Abuse, Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1990
Church Not Ignoring Abuse, Flynn Tells Local Catholics, By Stephen Scott, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, May 24, 2002
Accused Minnesota Priests Still Working, By Rick Linsk and Charles Laszewski, Pioneer Press, May 26, 2002
Twin Cities: Catholics Take First Steps to Implement Abuse Policy, By Stephen Scott, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, June 22, 2002
Twin Cities: Archdiocese Says Policy on Abuse Has Improved, By Stephen Scott, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, November 15, 2002
Survivors Champion Need to Speak out about Abus, By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter, August 19, 2010
Confronting Abusers, By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter, August 24, 2010
Archdiocese Will Review Priest Misconduct Cases, Archbishop Says, By Emily Gurnon, Pioneer Press, October 1, 2013
Pioneer Press 11.03.93; St Paul & Minneapolis List of Credibly Accused Priests, released Dec. 5, 2013
Statement Regarding Joseph Wajda's Dismissal from the Clerical State, By Tom Halden,  Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis, October 1, 2016


Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Wajda's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on January 28, 2020.