Church members in West Louisville concerned about leadership

Church members in West Louisville concerned about leadership

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Parishioners of three catholic churches in West Louisville are fed up and want answers from church leadership about financial information and the direction the churches are going.

Members from Saint Augustine Church, Christ the King Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church told WAVE 3 News on Wednesday they feel like they are being pushed to the side.

Ashia Powell, who grew up in the Catholic church, said the churches don’t feel like they are being supported by the man who is supposed to be leading them.

“We support the priest in any endeavor that he has,” Powell said, “but if you’re not going to support us as well in the following and function of the church, then how can do?”

The group said Rev. Chris Rhodes was assigned to their three churches in May of 2019. However, some members of the churches started noticing things they felt uneasy about a few months later.

“We have some concerns pertaining to the lack of ministry and financial misappropriation of things with Father Chris and our churches,” Powell said.

Powell wouldn't go into details about the "financial misappropriation.” She said two of the churches did their own audits of finances and submitted those findings to the Archdiocese of Louisville.

The group said they have tried to speak to the priest about their concerns, but nothing has changed, and they feel ignored.

“We’ve tried to say some things to him about his dismissive language, about his vindictive behavior, and we were dismissed, basically,” Powell said.

Powell said they started moving up the chain to the vicar and the archbishop. Members from all three churches started writing letters to the archdiocese in October, explaining their concerns and asking them to make a change.

“He is a priest of three churches, and we do understand the stress that goes with that. But you still have to have some sort of ministry laid and foundation laid so that we can carry on to the next generation,” Powell said.

WAVE 3 News reached out to the Archdiocese of Louisville for comment. In a statement they said:

We understand that members of Saint Augustine, Christ the King, and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parishes have some concerns and questions. We have been in dialogue over the last several weeks with several representatives of these parishes. We care for all of our parishes, and with the assistance of the pastor of these three parishes, we hope to resolve these issues and questions.”

WAVE 3 News also reached out to the church to ask the priest for comment but was told to call back on Thursday because it was after hours.

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