Home About Archives RSS Feed

Round-the-Clock Vigil

Staff Reports
image description
Saturday marked the 1,150th day of the vigil. A new sign on the door advises the 'the Vigil is canceled as of 5 PM Saturday, February 18, 2012.

Parishioners Set Vigil to Save St. Stan's

The day after Christmas, 2008, a group called the Friends of St. Stan's entered the church vowing to not to leave until every last avenue to save the historic Polish church had been tried.

Last week, three days after the church's official closing by the Diocese of Springfield, nearly a dozen group members were working on a schedule that keep the building occupied by at least three people at all times.

"We've got a lot of support," said Francis Hajdas, the group's spokesman. "People have been bringing us coffee and doughnuts."

He and Henry "Hank" Tomkowicz were pouring over large schedule board, trying to plug in empty time slots with volunteers. There were a lot of holes to plug, but the group was undaunted.

With good reason, it appears - more people are joining the effort.

Hajda, contacted on Monday, Jan. 5, said about 130 people had gathered at the church to sing carols on Sunday evening. "It was a really good showing," said Hajdas. The event was so successful, the singing will resume next Sunday but at 2 p.m., an easier hour for the former parish's elderly to attend.

The church will also be in the national spotlight. A reporter from Time magazine spent the entire afternoon on Friday interviewing parishioners; a photographer showed up Sunday.

A strategy meeting last week was attended by close to 100 people, said Hajdass. At least that many are expected for this week's meeting; meetings are held at 7 p.m. on Mondays.

The diocese, meanwhile, has said it won't interfere with the vigil unless safety issues arise. The Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, said, "We'll leave it to the will of God."

The appeals process in Rome could last more than a year; the diocese has said it is unlikely to overturn the local decision.

St. Stan's was one of six churches closed this fall as the diocese restructured parishes in light of declining attendance and a lack of priests. St. Thomas in Adams closed the week before St. Stan's; both parishes along with Notre Dame, were consolidated into the Parish of Pope John Paul the Great. Notre Dame was designated as the new parish church.

In North Adams, St. Francis of Assisi and Our Lady of Mercy were closed and consolidated at St. Anthony's Church, now known as St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Those closings, while heartbreaking for many parishioners, were not met with the same level of bitterness as at St. Stan's. Parishioners there fear losing their church also means losing their heritage.

And so the Friends of St. Stan's are determined to go on. Hajdas spent four night in the airy, but chilly, church last week.

"Church pews can be surprising comfortable," he said.

Tags: Hajdas, Tomkowitz      
News Headlines
Pittsfield Pols Discuss Importance of Millennial Voters At BCC Forum
Special Ed Preschool Issue Continues to Vex Williamstown School Committee
Pittsfield Weighing All Aspects of Trash Collection
Eclipse Mill Quilt Exhibit Translates LeWitt Into Textiles
'The Magnificent Seven': They Ride Again
Mount Greylock to Host McCann Football at Lanesborough Park
Williamstown Elementary Earns Level 1 Status, State Commendation
Pittsfield Will Not Yet Ask Waterstone For Economic Impact Study
Clarksburg Select Board Fires Treasurer/Tax Collector
Adams May Look at Tax Break Incentives For Businesses
 
Appeals Process
Parishes have some options to protest their closings.

Appeal to the bishop within 10 days of a decree of suppres-
sion or merger. He's got 30 days to get back to you - or not. 

 

 

 

If the answer is still no, the parish then has 10 days to appeal to the Congregation of Clergy in Rome. They could take years to respond and usually back the bishop.

All is not lost. The next step is to appeal to the Apostolic Signatory, the Vatican's "supreme court." It is headed by St. Louis' former Archbishop Raymond Burke, who leans conservative.
If the first appeal for a hearing fails, the last step is a plea to the full bench of the signatory. The process can cost thousands.
Stories

Bishop Hopes Closings Reinvigorate Parishes

Bosley Wants More Dialogue on Church Closings

Parishioners Seek Solution to Save St. Stan's

Parishioners Set Vigil to Save St. Stan's

St. Stan's Closes With
Tears and Defiance


St. Stan's Hopes for Strength in Numbers

St. Stan's Pins Prayers on Mediation Request

 

 

 

 



Categories:
Boston (3)
coverage (4)
diocese (9)
event (5)
parish (5)
related stories (2)
Rome (6)
update (12)
Archives:
Tags:
Council Of Churches Appeal Apostolic Signatura Republican New Orleans Anniversary Decree Borre Marians Time Christmas Thanksgiving Congregation Of Clergy Deicision Hajdas Reopening Closing Opening Divine Mercy Decision Decision Tomkowitz Vigil Trabold Ruling Appeals
Popular Entries:
St. Stan's Announces Church Is Saved
Diocese Releases Statement on St. Stan's Ruling
Diocese, Vigilers Appeal Ruling on St. Stan's
St. Stanislaus Church To Reopen
St. Stan Vigilers Hope Prayers Answered
St. Stanislaus Reopens For Palm Sunday Mass
First Western Hemisphere Divine Mercy Images Still at St. Stan's
Diocese Says Vatican Upholds Closure of St. Stan's
Boston Setback Doesn't Shake Vigilers' Faith
St. Stan's Vigil to Mark Two Years
Recent Entries:
St. Stanislaus Reopens For Palm Sunday Mass
St. Stanislaus Church To Reopen
Diocese Says Vatican Upholds Closure of St. Stan's
Diocese, Vigilers Appeal Ruling on St. Stan's
Diocese Releases Statement on St. Stan's Ruling
First Western Hemisphere Divine Mercy Images Still at St. Stan's
St. Stan Vigilers Hope Prayers Answered
St. Stan's Announces Church Is Saved
Pontiff Rejects Boston Parish Appeals
St. Stan's Vigil to Mark Two Years