|Framingham, Wellesley Parishes Seek Pope's Intervention
By Julia Spitz
The MetroWest Daily News
October 20, 2010
A group of nine Boston-area Catholic parishes, including St. Jeremiah of Framingham and St. James the Great of Wellesley, appears to have made history today by filing a direct appeal to the pope.
"No American church or parish has ever submitted an extraordinary recourse to the pope," Jackie Lemmerhirt, co-chairwoman of the St. Jeremiah Appeal Committee, said of the appeal to reverse last spring's Vatican ruling that the Archdiocese of Boston's could close the churches.
"We basically asked (Pope Benedict XVI) to reverse the decrees of suppression from the archdiocese and look at what these closings are doing to the Church in America," said Lemmerhirt. "This is a different avenue (of appeal) that is rarely taken."
"They had never done anything on this scale previously," Suzanne Hurley, a leader in St. James' six-year vigil, said of the Archdiocese of Boston's decision to close 60 parishes as part of its 2004 reconfiguration plan.
Peter Borre, the head of the Council of Parishes, which represents nine of the suppressed parishes, hand-delivered "a direct appeal to His Holiness Pope Benedict ... to the Vatican's Secretariat of State for the Rev. Mons. Peter Wells, Counselor for General Affairs" today in Rome, a press release from the Council of Parishes stated.
In addition to St. Jeremiah and St. James, the appeal was made on behalf of Infant Jesus/St. Lawrence Parish in Brookline; Our Lady of Lourdes, Revere; St. Frances X. Cabrini, Scituate; Mary, Star of the Sea, Quincy; Ste. Jeanne d'Arc, Lowell; St. Michael, Lynn; and Holy Trinity, Boston.
"We have not had an opportunity to review the full submission by the Council of Parishes," said Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston. "However, the appeals process, just concluded, was a lengthy and thorough effort which included participation by the highest court in the Vatican, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
"When the Signatura makes a ruling it does so in the name of the Holy Father," said Donilon. "There are no further appeals options available to the petitioners."
In August, the archdiocese notified St. Jeremiah and St. James that the churches won't be re-established as territorial parishes, and advised vigil leaders to meet with the regional bishop.
St. James members will meet with archdiocese officials on Oct. 29. St. Jeremiah has not yet scheduled its meeting.
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