Local Parishioners Encouraged by Decision to Reopen Adams Church

By Ray Hershel
February 20, 2012

[with video]

(HOLYOKE, Mass.) (WGGB)–Parishioners of closed churches in the Springfield area are applauding a decision to keep an Adams church open.

They say what happened in Adams gives them hope for the future.

Parishioners at St. Stanislaus parish in Adams are thrilled.

The long fight to keep their church open was successful.

The diocese approved a plan to reopen St Stanislaus as a chapel mission of the parish.

The plan followed a Vatican decision to keep the church in religious use.

A similar ruling by the Vatican allowed St. Patrick's and St. Georges churches in Chicopee to remain open.

However while the Vatican decree allows the churches to be re-opened it upheld the rights of the bishop to dissolve the parishes leaving the future still unclear for St. Patrick's and St. George's.

The decision to keep St. Stanislaus in Adams open is being hailed in other parts of the diocese as well according to Attorney Victor Anop, a parishioner at Mater Dolorosa Church in Holyoke," First of all let's give credit to the Polish parishioners of St. Stanislaus in Adams, for three years they carried on an heroic fight that gained national attention and they really are the case for keeping churches open and fighting to keep your church open," says Anop.

The decision in Adams gives Mater Dolorosa parishioners hope says Vic Anop," The Mater Dolorosa case is similar to the others, we simply want to keep our church open, we're willing to cooperate and have cooperated , many of our people work with the merged church but we want to have this church open at least on a mission basis so we can end our prayer vigil and move on peacefully," says Anop.

Mater Dolorsa parishioners have appealed to the Vatican the diocesan decision to close the church .

In the meantime, they will continue their vigil inside the church.

Meanwhile the diocese released a statement Monday afternoon saying " The matter involving Mater Dolorosa is significantly different than that of St. Stanislaus in Adams. In the case of Mater Dolorosa there was both significant parish debt exceeding $600,000 and documented and verified structural concerns. Neither was the case in Adams " according to Diocesan Spokesperson Mark Dupont.

Dupont also said the in the initial appeal regarding Mater Dolorosa, the Vatican upheld both the merger and the reduction of the status of the church building. This is also different Dupont says than St. Stanislaus.

Both sides await the decision from the Vatican appeal.


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