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Despite Vatican ruling, Wellesley, Framingham parishes says vigils will continue

Posted by Erica Noonan  May 17, 2010 02:09 PM

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Erica Noonan/Globe Staff

Ray Antonio prays at St. Jeremiah's Church in Framingham Monday He is a member of the group that has been conducting a vigil at the church for five years in hopes of reversing an order by the Boston Archdiocese, closing the parish down. The Vatican rejected appeals of the closure orders from St. Jeremiah's vigilers and other Catholics Monday.

Despite a Vatican rejection of their final plea to remain open, parishioners at St. James the Great in Wellesley and St. Jeremiah in Framingham say they will continue their round-the-clock vigils at their churches.

"After five years, I don't think the Archdiocese can expect a decision like this could make us say, 'Oh, we're ready to go now,'" said St. James parishioner Suzanne Hurley.

She said St. James would continue to call for direct mediation sessions with Cardinal Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley

"I don't see this as a losing situation. It's part of the process. A dialogue needs to be re-established and I do remain hopeful we'll find a solution that works for us and the other parishes,” said Hurley, whose church has been in round-the-clock vigil since Oct. 31, 2004 and holds lay-led services every Sunday morning.

“He has always been opening to listening and I hope he will come to the table with us and find a resolution," she said.

St. Jeremiah’s parishioner Josephine Patruno said on Monday their efforts, and vigil – which just passed its 5th anniversary -- would also continue.

“We’re not leaving. Period,” said Patruno, who typically spends several afternoons per week in the vigil office, with a window that looks into the sanctuary. “They want us to leave, we’re not going anywhere!”

Ten Boston-area churches that were closed by the Archdiocese were denied their final appeal to the Vatican to remain open, according to a spokesperson for the Council of Parishes.

Spokesman Bill Bannon said the council's president, Peter Borre, heard the news Monday morning when he spoke by telephone with Carlo Gullo, a canon lawyer in Rome who represented the group before the Vatican's highest court, the Apostolic Signatura.

The other parishes represented by the council include Ste. Jeanne d'Arc in Lowell; Infant Jesus/St. Lawrence in Brookline; Star of the Sea in Squantum, Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere; St. Michael the Archangel in Lynn. The other two parishes involved in the appeal are Sacred Heart in Natick and St. Anselm in Sudbury.

Hurley described herself as a former "sit, pray, pay and obey" Catholic, who now advocates to the Catholic faithful that they "work to safeguard their parishes."

"The faith lives in us. The Archdiocese didn't give me my faith and they can not take it away. They are here to serve and lead us and they have not done that."

Globe correspondent Jason Woods contributed to this report

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