ROCKVILLE CENTRE - An openly gay man formally demanded reinstatement as a eucharistic minister today at the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Former Catholic eucharistic minister Nicholas Coppola and members of the gay community arrived at the Rockville Centre Diocese offices this morning, carrying boxes full of petitions. The petitions call for Bishop William Murphy to reinstate Coppola, who volunteered for the last four years at St. Anthony's in Oceanside. Coppola was dismissed after he married a man earlier this year.

The diocese rejected his reinstatement request, saying Coppola was fired because "by marrying under New York State's same-sex marriage law, he took a public position against church teachings."

Still, Father Nick Lombardi says Coppola continues to be a valued member of his Oceanside parish.

Coppola says he is holding out hope that he will serve once again in his parish as a eucharistic minister.