The top financial officer of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been fired while authorities investigate how hundreds of thousands of dollars in church funds went missing.

Anita Guzzardi, recently appointed the archdiocese's chief financial officer, was escorted from church offices on July 14, a day after the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office informed church officials about its investigation, according to church spokeswoman Donna Farrell.

The church has hired lawyer Henry E. Hockeimer of Ballard Spahr and the accounting firm of Parente Beard to conduct an internal investigation, Farrell said. Guzzardi was fired Friday as a result of their preliminary findings.

"We have been cooperating fully with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and will continue to do so," Farrell's statement said.

The amount of missing funds is still under investigation, but sources said it is several hundred thousand dollars.

Guzzardi, of Haddon Heights, could not be reached for comment.

Guzzardi has worked for the archdiocese for more than a decade. She served as "renewal coordinator," helping estranged Catholics reconcile with the church, before she moved to the accounting office. As controller, part of her job was reviewing parish finances.

When one Montgomery County parish had a $178,000 operating loss last year, she wrote a letter urging the pastor to find ways to make up the difference and focus on returning to "financial stability and policy integrity."

Contact staff writer Joseph Tanfani at 215-854-2684 or at

Inquirer staff writers Nancy Phillips and Craig R. McCoy contributed to this article.