Controversy over priests re-assigned by Catholic Diocese of Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There has been plenty of change at the Catholic Diocese of Memphis over the last several months, but some of that has not been sitting well with some parishioners.

Call it change with the times.

When Bishop Martin Holley took over the Catholic Diocese of Memphis last October, it was expected he would come in and make some changes.

"Typically in June the Diocese moves priests around," said Greg Stiel.

But when a high number of priests were re-assigned to different churches, it sent shock waves through many communities.

Long-time priests whose congregations said were making great strides were suddenly pulled out and placed in other locations.

"This has been unprecedented, something we haven't seen in a while where they move all priests around," said Stiel.

Gina Villalobos, a long-time parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, said their priest was on of those moved away.

"It's hard for many people when we love our priest. It's hard to move," she said.

The changes upset some people so much they gathered petitions and planned a rally asking others to join in speaking out against the changes.

The rally was eventually canceled.

Others told WREG change is good and to give the new Bishop a chance.

"I have no problem with what has happened now. I feel this is something he thinks is necessary," said Pat LaPorte.

Because in the end, there may be little they can do.

"It's a new Bishop we just gotta let God play it out," said Stiel.

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis was closed for the holiday and unable to be reached for comment.