For Immediate Release: May 6, 2020
(RICHMOND, Va.) – Bishop Barry C. Knestout announced he has suspended Father Mark White from public priestly ministry, effective immediately.
“I have given this considerable amount of thought and attention and I do not take this action lightly. For several weeks now, I have become more and more concerned for the ecclesiastical communion of the faithful at the parishes of St. Joseph in Martinsville and Saint Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount. I have a responsibility to ensure all ministries within the diocese work to unify and build the Body of Christ, not cause further discord. I have an obligation to ensure that those who serve our faithful are able to do so in a way that the Church expects. My heart, my desire, and my responsibility are the communion of this community not only for this parish, but every parish in the diocese.”
While restricted from his ministerial role, Father White is prohibited from any form of practicing Church ministry which includes the public celebration of the sacraments and exercising any official functions related to the office of a pastor.
Under Canon law (or Church law of the Roman Catholic Church), while seeking recourse, Father Mark White still retains the title of pastor, but any responsibilities or public duties associated with the title are suspended.
As previously communicated last month (April 13th), Father Kevin Segerblom, episcopal vicar for the Western Vicarate, is appointed as administrator overseeing the pastoral care and administrative duties for both parishes.