The Elpaso Times is reporting:
Supporters of the Rev. Michael Rodríguez, who was reassigned after becoming politically involved in a recall effort of three elected El Paso officials, presented more than 100 signatures from people who want him back in El Paso.
Rodríguez, who currently is a priest at Santa Teresa Catholic Church in Presidio, Texas, was at San Juan Bautista Catholic Church in El Paso before being reassigned. Both parishes are part of the Diocese of El Paso.
On Monday, Rodríguez’s brother David Rodríguez issued a news release stating 180 signatures have been collected and presented to Bishop Armando X. Ochoa. In the news release, David Rodríguez said the petition shows public support for Michael Rodríguez’s actions.
“Our hope is to have 500 by next week and then grow that number even more,” David Rodríguez said in the release.
Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega are facing a recall election after a successful petition drive from El Pasoans for Traditional Family Values, led by Word of Life Church Pastor Tom Brown. Its members were upset that Cook, Byrd and Ortega voted to restore health benefits to gay and unmarried partners of city employees after voters ended the practice in a ballot initiative last November.
Rodríguez, who was not associated with Brown’s group, wrote four controversial advertisements, which ran in the El Paso Times, speaking out against the elected officials and the gay lifestyle. He also challenged Cook, Byrd and Ortega to a public forum.
“We are urging our Bishop to be obedient to Pope Benedict XVI and provide El Paso with a parish life centered on the Traditional Latin Mass,” David Rodríguez said in the press release. “Secondly, we are pleading with our Bishop: Please, please send Father Rodríguez back to us. We love him, he’s sacrificed so much for us, and El Paso desperately needs the light and strength of his priesthood.”
David Rodríguez also said the group wants Michael Rodríguez back because he hosted five confessions a week, led a daily rosary prayer and a weekly Stations of the Cross prayer in Spanish. Michael Rodríguez also led a traditional Latin service.