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Petition drive doesn’t help gay LI parishioner win back his volunteer duties

Posted: 7:12 PM, Apr 11, 2013
Updated: 2013-04-11 19:12:35-04

A gay Long Island parishioner, stripped of his volunteer church work, was hoping 185,000 signatures of support would persuade the Diocese of Rockville Centre to reinstate him.  It didn’t.

Nicholas Coppola, 47, delivered the petitions to the offices of Bishop William Murphy Thursday morning.  The Washington D.C. based group Faithful America organized the national online petition drive.

Bishop William Murphy

Nicholas Coppola, 47, delivered the petitions to the offices of Bishop William Murphy Thursday morning.

The proud Catholic had been volunteering as a Eucharistic minister, visitor to the homebound sick and religion teacher at St. Anthony’s Church in Oceanside.  But those duties were taken away from him a few months after he married his partner David Crespo.  Someone made an issue out of it in an anonymous letter sent to Bishop Murphy.  The person asks “Why is this permissible?”

“It was because I was married.  I’ve been openly gay to all my parishioners and clergy since my attendance at St. Anthony’s,” Coppola said.  “It just emphasizes the disconnect between the hierarchy and the people in the pews.”

The Diocese of Rockville Centre issued a statement which reads in part:  “The Diocese respects those who may have signed a petition but in turn expects others to respect the Church which will remain clear in her teaching and faithful in living that teaching for the good of one and all.”