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Father Rodney Copp named to Propagation of Faith offices


Father Rodney J. Copp Pilot photo

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Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. has announced the appointment of Father Rodney J. Copp as Archdiocesan Director of the Pontifical Mission societies; this appointment is in addition to his present assignments as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Waltham and Promoter of Justice at the Metropolitan Tribunal of the archdiocese.

Born on April 20, 1947 he was the only child of the late Lewis and Ellen (Moreland) Copp. He grew up in Peabody’s St. John the Baptist Parish and attended the parish elementary school and Bishop Fenwick High School. He completed seminary studies in the archdiocesan seminaries at Jamaica Plain and Brighton and Humberto Cardinal Medeiros ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 19, 1973.

His first assignment was as an associate at the Waltham parish where he is now pastor. During this time he cemented his relationship with the Watch City’s Police Department of which he has been the highly regarded chaplain ever since.

An accomplished organist, both in his seminary days and subsequently during his priestly ministry, he has been the accompanist of Msgr. Francis Strahan and played organ at notable Holy Cross Cathedral events: the installation of Archbishop Humberto Medeiros; the funeral Mass of Richard Cardinal Cushing, and the Papal Mass at Boston Common on Oct. 1, 1979.

When his first assignment at Waltham was completed he moved to a neighboring town, Belmont, where he was parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish. He was designated for further studies and completed his licentiate degree at Catholic University of America in the nation’s capital. His thesis for the degree was on the process for the removal of a pastor. You could always banter with him that with that expertise he could be enlisted by a pastor to prevent his removal or by the bishop to speed it up!

His canonical experience was more in the day to day work with those who brought troubled marriages to the Metropolitan Tribunal. He served full time there for a number of years during which time he lived in residence at St. Patrick Rectory, Watertown. Cardinal Bernard Law named him pastor at St. Charles Borromeo, Waltham on Aug. 19, 1997. He has remained on the staff of the metropolitan tribunal as well.

His additional assignment as Archdiocesan Director of the Pontifical Mission societies adds to an already busy, even full schedule. Referred to in shorthand as Director of the Propagation of the Faith, he will actually have three titles that entail responsibilities for three distinct aspects of the missionary outreach of the Church.

Propagation of the Faith -- encourages prayers, creates awareness and raises funds for the missionary activity of the Church outside of the nations where the offices work. One of his principal functions will be to assign preachers to the annual mission appeals in archdiocesan parishes; he’ll also make personal appeals and develop a missionary sense among the faithful of the archdiocese, encouraging them in the well known generosity which the archdiocese has shown not only in material support but also in the encouragement of vocations to missionary works.

Holy Childhood Association -- Perhaps best known for the Christmas stamps which Catholic School children sold to raise funds for the children in the missions, this aspect of Father Copp’s new responsibility tries to create relationships, not exactly “pen pals,” but nevertheless supportive relationships between Catholic American children and youth and their contemporaries in the missionary areas of the world.

Society of St. Peter the Apostle -- specifically addresses the need for native vocations to the priesthood throughout the world and solicits both spiritual and material support for seminarians in mission lands.

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