St. James Expected to Reopen This Summer

By Colin McEwen
The Patch
May 17, 2012

Joseph Dwyer, who’s attended the church for 25 years and worked as a volunteer at the parish, called the news of St. James reopening "extraordinary."

On Tuesday, Bishop Richard Lennon announced that the parish — along with 11 others in the Cleveland area — would reopen its doors. That's welcome news to city officials, who have been scratching their heads for two years trying to figure out the next use for the 104-year-old building.

St. James Catholic Church is expected to reopen sometime this summer.

But that's about where any certainty regarding the parish ends.

Questions remain about the church's leadership and physical restoration — and no firm date has been set.

The shuttered church on Detroit Avenue is slated to open its doors again after Bishop Richard Lennon reversed his 2010 decision to close 12 parishes in Northeast Ohio.

"It's time to have peace and unity in the diocese of Cleveland," Lennon said in April.

On Wednesday, he met with Toni Sabo, president of the Friends of St. James organization, to discuss a "rough timeline" for the restoration of the closed parishes.

"He hopes to begin to reopen the parishes mid-June and open all 12 by mid-July," she said.

Sabo said that Lennon hasn't appointed pastors to any of the parishes yet, but noted she's set to meet with diocese officials again in the next couple weeks.

In the meantime, she's asking parishioners hoping to return to the church to visit the Save St. James website to fill out a survey.

"It will take a lot of work to rebuild our parish, but we are willing to roll up our sleeves and get started," she said.

Diocese officials declined comment, but said in a press release "no timetable has been set for reopening."

The purpose of the meetings with parish leaders, according to the statement, was to address concerns over the physical restoration of the shuttered churches and what happened during the closings, according to the release.

"Specifically, what are these parishioners looking forward to when the parish re-opens," according to the statement. "This effort is to try to make it a working, vibrant parish."


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