A petition to retain Fr. Rusty Vincent at St. Joseph's Catholic Church of Starkville, MS.

A petition to retain Fr. Rusty Vincent at St. Joseph's Catholic Church of Starkville, MS.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Danielle Nadorff started this petition to Bishop of Jackson Most Rev. Joseph Kopacz and

Problem:


We are at a turning point in our parish, and in a fragile time where there is a tremendous need for trust and understanding of what has happened over the last several years. Although we do not doubt that the bishop’s replacement for Fr. Rusty, Fr. Jason, is imminently qualified and is a wonderful priest, it would take anyone a significant amount of time to form the relationships, build the trust, and learn the history that is required to help our parish move forward. Also, the fact that Fr. Rusty wants to be here, and wants to help us rebuild, is very meaningful to us. He is one of us, and he shouldn’t be ripped away when he is needed most.

Solution:

If you feel the same way, we need your help.  Please consider both signing this public online petition and writing our bishop, Most Rev. Joseph Kopacz, joseph.kopacz@jacksondiocese.org, and copying Most Rev. Thomas Rodi, the Archbishop of Mobile, archbishop@mobarch.org. Please feel free to share both this email and the link to the online petition with as many parishioners as possible.

A sample email may be found below to spark some ideas.  Please feel free to use any, all, or none of it.

Thank you for your consideration, and may God bless our parish during this challenging time.

Sincerely,

The families of St. Joseph

 

Sample email:
 

Your excellencies Bishop Kopacz and Archbishop Rodi,

I am a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Starkville, MS.  As you know, our parish is still in the early stages of recovering from the news of Fr. Lenin Vargas, and we are working on rebuilding trust as a parish and with the broader church.  First of all, we ask for your prayers during this difficult time.  We also ask for your support in helping us to rebuild.

As part of this process, it is essential that we have a pastor in place who is a strong leader and who knows our parish, its history, and who has the trust of the congregation.  Although I can only speak for myself, having spoken with many other members of the parish, I believe Fr. Rusty Vincent is the perfect person to help see us through.  Because of this, I was greatly dismayed when I learned that Fr. Rusty has been reassigned despite requesting to remain at St. Joseph's.  We desperately need him here.  Having to start over with a new priest would set us back months, if not longer, as relationships must be formed and trust must be earned before we can start the rebuilding process.  It is a near impossible assignment for anyone who isn’t already intimately aware of our parish, our parishioners, and the trauma we have recently endured. 

Furthermore, Fr. Rusty has built very strong relationships with our college students, and allowing him to walk through this difficult period with them is very important.  They are at a critical point in their life and faith journeys; having someone whom they trust and know to help them navigate this difficult situation is vital.

I want to be clear that in no way am I rejecting Fr. Jason, and that we would welcome him to join us in January as well if at all feasible.  Having him come now would allow him to build the necessary relationships to lead the church going forward while also learning about the parish and our needs from Fr. Rusty.  A time of transition would put him in an excellent position to lead the parish in the future.  However, I know there are many pieces to that puzzle, and understand that may not be possible.

As a final matter, please note that there is precedent in our diocese and even in our own parish for extending the assignment of a priest.  After the Good Friday fire of 1998 which burned our church, the Bishop chose to leave Fr. Mike O’Brien to assist with the rebuilding process.  We, at St. Joseph, feel that this period of rebuilding requires an even greater level of established trust to ensure healing and renewed confidence in the leadership of our diocese.

Due to this, I most respectfully ask you, Bishop Kopacz, to reconsider transferring Fr. Rusty.  We understand that priests need to move on, but I believe we all can agree that what happened at St. Joseph’s is an extraordinary circumstance.  Because our parish is in need of continuity in our pastoral leadership, we ask for an exception that would allow Fr. Rusty's time to be extended with us to enable us to heal and move forward as a parish. Due to the concerns about our university students, please consider leaving him with us at least through 2019.

I truly appreciate your consideration of this matter. 

Sincerely,

(your name)

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!