"You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
– Psalm 110:4
|Father Michael Rodríguez|
The following statement was released by David Rodríguez, the younger brother of Father Michael Rodríguez:
For the past 9 1/2 years, Fr. Michael Rodríguez has served as parish priest of San Juan Bautista in central El Paso. Recently, Bishop Armando Ochoa reassigned Fr. Rodríguez to Santa Teresa de Jesús Parish in Presidio, TX, and the surrounding missions of Candelaria, Redford, and Shafter, TX. We, the parishioners of San Juan Bautista, and hundreds, probably even thousands, of other Catholic faithful from around the diocese and southern New Mexico, want to make a public appeal to our Bishop: please restore the traditional Catholic parish life that we had at San Juan Bautista. We are convinced that this parish life is, by far, the greatest spiritual treasure of our city.If you would like to help, here are a few things you can do.
The Catholics of El Paso have now been left without the priest who was the lone voice speaking the truth and upholding all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Anyone in El Paso can tell you that the most reverent Mass offered was at San Juan Bautista. Fr. Rodríguez had Confessions five times a week and often stayed past midnight absolving our sins. He had a Holy Hour almost every day, and all-night Adoration at least once a month. The Rosary was prayed daily at San Juan, many times more than once. Every Friday, after the evening Mass, Fr. Rodríguez led the Stations of the Cross in Spanish, and others prayed them in English every Friday at 12:30 p.m. At San Juan Bautista, we had many other devotions, novenas, blessings of sacramentals, processions, and additional Masses for First Friday and First Saturday. There were also numerous classes in the faith for both the adults and youth of the parish. Fr. Rodríguez was the only priest speaking out in public to defend Marriage as the union between one man and one woman. In addition, he was the only priest of the diocese offering the Traditional Latin Mass. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has made it very clear that the Traditional Latin Mass should be offered generously throughout the world wherever the faithful are requesting it. Here in El Paso, hundreds of us are requesting a daily Traditional Latin Mass, just as it was being offered at San Juan Bautista. We respectfully ask Bishop Ochoa to do nothing more than obey the directives of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Moreover, in just two years, the small parish of San Juan Bautista has had five men go to the seminary and two women to the convent. Another two men and two women will probably go this year to seek a religious vocation and many more youth are discerning a religious vocation thanks, in part, to the example and spiritual direction of Fr. Michael Rodríguez. Finally, Fr. Rodríguez was the only priest in the diocese who was openly promoting true Catholic education and supporting those who wish to homeschool within their family.
Many Catholics will attest to the fact that no other priest in El Paso was working harder than Fr. Rodríguez for the sanctification and salvation of our souls. And now he is gone, and so is the rich and magnificent spiritual life that we formerly had at San Juan. The grief and sorrow which many of us are experiencing is unimaginable. We've lost our spiritual father! Many of the faithful are utterly devastated. They simply do not know where to go for the feeding and care of their souls. Hundreds of letters have already been written to our Bishop, and we intend to make it thousands upon thousands. The injustice is palpable, especially for those who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass, as well as the poor, the elderly and children who relied on him for their spiritual nourishment. Their pain and hopelessness is written all over their faces.
This morning we presented Bishop Armando Ochoa with a petition of more 180 signatures, and are still in the process of gathering more. Our hope is to have 500 by next week and then grow that number even more. 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. Secondly, we are pleading with our Bishop: please, please send Fr. 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.
- Offer prayers and fastings for the speedy return of Fr. Rodriguez to San Juan Bautista.
- Call the El Paso Chancery at (915) 872-8400 even if you are from another part of the country. Let them know how important it is to have a priest who will defend and proclaim the truth.
- Vote "YES" in a poll by the El Paso Times asking "Should Rev. Michael Rodriguez return to El Paso?" Link: http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_19081998
- Spread the word through blogs, Facebook, twitter, email, comboxes, etc.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
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- Father Michael Rodriguez defends marriage
- Father Michael Rodriguez and Father Frank Pavone
- Father Michael Rodriguez on the crisis in the Church
- Father Rodriguez on the crisis in the Church -- Part 2
UPDATE 1 [Oct 11]:
Here is some additional information from a Catholic blogger in Dallas:
An update on San Juan Bautista. There are no Traditional Latin Masses at the parish at present, although there is a promise to train a priest or two in the timeless Mass of All Ages and to have a Sunday TLM there at some indeterminate point in the future. There are no other Sacraments offered, none of the daily catechesis classes Fr. Rodriguez offered, none of the daily prayers and devotionals, the whole parish life is essentially gone. There is apparently an offer to undergo prep like First Communion or Confirmation at a neighboring parish that is apparently very problematic, and then to have the actual Sacrament at San Juan Bautista, but that’s hardly a replacement for a vibrant parish life.
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UPDATE 2 [Oct 12]:
There is a new interview with Father Michael Rodriguez online at the website of the Remnant Newspaper titled "Priest Under Fire: An Interview of Father Michael Rodriguez".
This is a dynamite interview. Here are some excerpts, but please do yourself a favor and read the full interview. We have been waiting a long time for a priest like this. Our prayers are answered. Thank God! Alleluia!
I began to study the prayers and theology of the Traditional Latin Mass. The more I studied, the more my awe and amazement grew. I was "discovering" not only the true Catholic theology of the Mass, but also the true Catholic theology of the priesthood, and so much more! Throughout my first nine years of priesthood, I had struggled to make sense of the very serious problems which exist in the Church. At this point, it was obvious that an extreme crisis pervaded the Church and her hierarchy, but why? I just couldn't quite understand how all of this "diabolical disorientation" had come to pass . . . until the brilliant light of the true Catholic Mass ("Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam . . .") began to penetrate my priestly soul. This "discovery" of the Traditional Latin Mass has been, by far, the greatest gift of God to my poor priesthood.+ + +
The dismal response of both civil and ecclesiastical authorities to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church in regard to homosexuality demonstrates how extreme the current crisis of faith actually is. It really can’t get much worse. There’s hardly any faith left to lose! Even a pagan, bereft of the light of faith, can arrive at the conclusion that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil. Reason, natural law, and consideration of the male and female anatomy more than suffice to confirm this moral truth.