On Friday, a state court ordered the parishioners attending the church of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, a Roman Catholic Church located south of Boston in Scituate, Massachusetts, to stop their 11-year long round-the-clock vigil by next week.
As of May 30, the Catholic church’s believers had been in vigil for 3,868 days since the Archdiocese of Boston ordered them to close down the building due to restructuring. The attempt triggered several lawsuits, as parishioners declined to abandon their church.
In 2004, the Archdiocese of Boston closed 70 parishes after a series of sex scandals that had shaken and plunged the U.S. Roman Catholic Church into a financial crisis. The church of St. Frances X. Cabrini of Scituate was one of the 70 parishes but the only that remained open for more than a decade due to its parishioners that had contested the archdiocese’s decision in state courts.
Meanwhile, Roman Catholic believers started a round-the-clock vigil designed to keep the church open day and night. During this vigil, people took turns in praying, quilting, crocheting, or even sleeping inside the church on air mattresses in an effort to save it.
One visitor said about the people of St. Frances X. Cabrini of Scituate church that they were truly living their faith and “walked the walk every day.” Parishioners said they were committed continue the vigil until they were allowed to keep their church open.
But this Friday, Justice Edward Leibensperger from the state’s Superior Court ordered them to abandon the vigil and let the Archdiocese of Boston close the church down by June 5. In his decision, the justice noted that parishioners stubbornly refused to “accept the reality of final decisions of the courts.”
On the other hand, the parishioners didn’t seem intimidated by this decision. After all, they have been waging a legal war for more than 10 years and said they wouldn’t stop now.
“We just found out this afternoon and so we’re going to the court of appeals. We have to exhaust every level of appeal,”
said Maryellen Rogers, the head of The Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini, the praying group that is trying to save the church.
The Archdiocese of Boston declined to comment on the ruling.
Since 2004, when the archdiocese announced its decision to close the churches, about six churches declined to comply. But today St. Frances is the last one to continue the fight since five of them had abandoned the cause.
Image Source: Boston Globe
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