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Archdiocese agrees to reopen parish in Weymouth

Churches in Wakefield, Lexington get reprieve

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, faced with opposition from many Catholics unhappy about the closing of their parishes, has agreed to reopen one closed parish, in Weymouth, and to alter plans to close two others, in Wakefield and Lexington.

O'Malley also agreed to allow a closed Sudbury parish to remain open as a chapel.

O'Malley made his decision based on the recommendations of a lay commission he appointed to review parish closing decisions. The commission is headed by Sister Janet Eisner, the president of Emmanuel College, and by Peter Meade, an executive with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

O'Malley agreed to reopen one parish, St. Albert in Weymouth, which has been occupied by its parishioners for more than six months. But he decided that a new pastor should be appointed to lead the parish.

He also decided not to close St. Florence in Wakefield, which had initially been slated for suppression.

In Lexington, O'Malley agreed that, rather than closing Sacred Heart and keeping St. Brigid open, he would create one parish in town. He said parishioners will have a year to consider which buildings should remain part of the consolidated parish.

And in Sudbury, where protesters have been occupying St. Anselm for more than six months, O'Malley decided to "affiliate" St. Anselm with St. George parish in Framingham, keeping St. Anselm open as a chapel of St. George parish.

O'Malley decided, based on the committee's recommendation, to keep closed five parishes that are currently occupied by protesters, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in East Boston; Infant Jesus/St. Lawrence in Brookline; St. Therese in Everett; St. James in Wellesley and St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, Scituate. And he reaffirmed his plan to close Sacred Heart in Watertown.

Michael Paulson's e-mail address is mpaulson@globe.com

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