Mater Dolorosa Church Occupation in Holyoke Could End This Week

By Jeanette DeForge
The Republican
June 8, 2012

Mater Dolorosa Church parishioners begin a continuous vigil to keep Holyoke church open.

Protesters who have been holding a vigil at Mater Dolorosa Church since it was closed by the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese a year ago voted Thursday if it should end the round-the-clock occupation of the church.

The group of about 100 people will not announce the results until Sunday. They began the prayer vigil the day the church closed on June 30 and was merged into the new Our Lady of the Cross.

The vote was sparked after the highest court of the Vatican, the Apostolic Signatura issued a preliminary decision over an appeal of the closure that called for the group to end the vigil. It also ordered Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell to refrain from selling, destroying or damaging the church until the appeal is heard.

One of the issues the two sides have been sparing about is the steeple. Diocesan officials say it is in poor condition and must be removed. Protesters disagree and want to prevent it from being damaged.








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