Nicolas Coppola Says Decision Was Hurtful, But Many Have Comforted Him

OCEANSIDE,  N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man who was involved in volunteer work at his church said he was rebuffed after marrying his longtime partner.

Nicolas Coppola said no one at St. Anthony’s in Oceanside seemed to have a problem with the fact that he is gay and married.

But someone complained to the bishop at the Rockville Center Diocese, asking the pastor to tell Coppola he could no longer volunteer as a lector, altar server or catechism teacher.

“He did that with a very, very heavy heart. I know he did not want to do it,” he told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.

Coppola said it was hurtful, but his fellow parishioners have helped him get through it.

“I knew it didn’t come from my parishioners. Every one of my parishioners have always welcomed my husband David and I,” he said. “I have gotten so much support — phone calls, emails.”

Coppola said it’s clear there is a disconnect between the church’s hierarchy and membership. Coppola is hoping the new pope will tackle that issue.

But he said all that support makes him feel just as much a part of the community as ever.

“And I will continue to hope for a change or at least hope to enter into a dialogue. We can come to some understanding,” he said.

In the meantime, he said he’s reaching out to local bishop, William Murphy.

“I would love for him to come to David and my home and sit, have dinner with us and get to know us,” he said.

Coppola is still at mass every Sunday, even though he’s not on the altar.

“Going to the church and being part of the church gives me a sense of purpose,” he said.

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