GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Father Patrick Tuttle of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, known for his activism, is leaving Greenville, according to a press release from the the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name Province.
Father Tuttle, who is a Franciscan friar, said he couldn’t comment at this point in the process. The Franciscans said they’re having to move him and other Friars because of the declining numbers of friars.
Father Tuttle has been active in local issues.
“He would go to county council meetings, city council meetings,” said St. Anthony of Padua parishioner Jessie Bowens.
Tuttle has been with the church since 2005, becoming its pastor in 2007. He’s also the pastor at its elementary school, where he was instrumental is raising money for a new building.
“I can’t tell you what he has not done for this community,” Bowens said.
She said she did not like hearing he was leaving.
“I was devastated,” she said. “I kind of knew he couldn’t stay here forever, but I wasn’t ready to hear that he was leaving.”
The City of Greenville will also be losing a voice against gentrification.
“Father Patrick has been here fighting tirelessly for the last 15 years, and you know I think the loss is that he really embodies community and partnership and bringing people together around a common cause to ensure that all of our neighbors really have the best opportunity for success,” said Meghan Barp, who is the president and CEO of United Way of Greenville County.
Those who know him say they hope the lessons he’s taught the community will continue to be put to good use after he’s gone.
“And now it’s left up to us,” Bowens said. “If it’s going to be, it’s us. We have to do it.”
Father Tuttle will be reassigned in June.
A leader from the Franciscans said in a press release that the decision to relocate friars was a painful one, but that it’s necessary to continue to carry out their mission.