Mater Dolorosa Church in Holyoke marks six-month anniversary of its 24-hour vigil

The Republican

By Jeanette DeForge, The Republican

HOLYOKE – The New Year brought a celebration of a different kind at the Mater Dolorosa Church where more than 100 people gathered to recognize the six-month anniversary of a round-the-clock vigil held to save the church.

Friends of Mater Dolorosa – formed shortly after the last Mass was said at the Maple Street church in June – gathered inside the church to say prayers and sing in Polish and English. They shared food and hugged.

Throughout the six months of arranging a schedule to make sure at least two people are in the church at all times, huddling in blankets to stay warm in the heatless building and battling with Springfield Roman Catholic Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell, the group has grown stronger and remains determined, said Shirley Anop, of Chicopee, a long-time member.

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