My name is Nicholas Coppola. My husband David and I need your help.
For almost a decade, I've been a Parishoner at St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church in Oceanside, New York -- serving as a religious education instructor, lector, altar server, visitation minister for homebound members, as well as member of the Consolation Ministry. But after David and I got married, the Roman Catholic bishop forced our priest to strip me of all of my roles and responsibilities, just for marrying the man I love.
This rejection hurts my husband and me terribly, and sends a dangerous message to gay people of faith everywhere. It hurts the ministries of St. Anthony’s parish where I was so active. It also conflicts with some of the words of welcome used by church leaders over the past few weeks. That's why I'm asking Cardinal Timothy Dolan to break bread with my husband and me, so he can learn about my family, and perhaps reconcile the disconnect between the church's actions and words.
On Easter morning, Cardinal Dolan said that the Roman Catholic Church isn't "anti-anybody," stating the church has to do better at listening to and supporting gay people.
As the Archbishop of New York and the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Dolan is the highest-ranking Catholic leader in the country. I was personally heartened to hear the Cardinal’s words during that interview, but unfortunately, those words do not ring true for real life Catholics like me.
A few years ago, I suffered a back injury that prevented me from working. Participating in the ministries at St. Anthony's gave my life a purpose and connected me to an incredibly caring community. I have always been open and honest about my relationship with David, and many of our church's parishioners even attended our wedding. They support David and me. Why can't the Church hierarchy?
It’s time to replace debate with real dialogue. Please join David and me in asking Cardinal Dolan to break bread with our family -- at our home or his -- so he can see that we're just like any other American Catholic family.