Minister Holds out Faith Decades-old Hub Church Will Reopen

By Erin Smith
Boston Herald
May 24, 2012

The Vatican yesterday rejected bids from local groups to stave off the shuttering of a half-dozen Hub area churches, ruling that the Archdiocese of Boston has proven its case for closing the parishes.

The news came as just the latest blow in a seven-year battle by impassioned parishioners such as Lorenzo Grasso, a Eucharistic minister who has worshipped at one of the churches, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, for more than four decades.

Grasso is holding out one last hope that his beloved East Boston church will be spared in a final appeal to the higher Vatican Court, the Apostolic Signatura. But last night, he took time with Herald reporter Erin Smith to reflect on what Our Lady of Mount Carmel has meant to him and his family.

“I’ve been at this church since 1966. When I came from Italy I was 15 years old. It was an Italian parish and they celebrated the Mass in Italian and English. I used to do the church bulletins in both English and Italian.

“It has a lot of memories though because my two brothers got married there. My sister got married there. All three of my kids were baptized there.

“We always went to church every Sunday and every holiday with Easter and Christmas and all fundraisers there. It was a very good social get-together. Sure, we miss it. But what are we going to do?

“We used to have a lot of feasts. The Italian ladies used to cook homemade antipasto, chicken, rabbits and beef. Because the Italians built the church, they bought their own statues of saints from their own villages.

“We used to have a procession at the church in the afternoon. If it was nice weather we’d have a barbecue outside. Our Lady of Sorrows was the biggest feast. It was the third Saturday of September. That was great. We used to have, like, 300 people. Either the night before or the following weekend we’d have a dinner dance. There was Italian music all the time.

“There’s not much left in life. People turn on each other because of jealousy or this and that. What’s left? And even the church — they’re taking that from us.

“About 10 years ago, we had a special marble altar built across the street from the church. On Sundays when the weather is good, I have the service out there. We used to have free coffee and doughnuts in the basement after Mass. Now we have the coffee outside.

“We’re waiting for the appeal. Right now, we are hopeful. I have faith.”








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