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Diocese: Vatican rejects Mass. church's appeal

January 5, 2012
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—Springfield's Roman Catholic Diocese says the Vatican has rejected a Northampton parish's challenge to the diocese's decision to close the parish and shut down its church.

The diocese said Thursday that the Vatican last month rejected the appeals by former parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Northampton.

Parishioners sought to overturn the diocese's 2009 decision to close St. Mary's in a merger of several city parishes. They say the diocese greatly overestimated the cost of needed building repairs and wrongly claimed the church lacked parking and handicapped accessibility.

But the diocese said the Vatican ruled the challenge had no basis in fact or church law.

A representative of the parishioners said they still have options to appeal at the Vatican and will continue to fight to save the historic church.

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