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Diocese Releases Statement on St. Stan's Ruling
By: Staff Reports On: 02:37PM / Wednesday February 16, 2011
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Diocese of Springfield is seeking clarification on Vatican decisions related to the closing of St. Stanislaus' Kostka Church in Adams and St. George's and St. Patrick's churches in Chicopee.

In a statement released Wednesday, the diocese says, "In the case of these three churches the Congregation [of Clergy] seems to be undertaking a new application of Church law." Diocesan officials point to similar reasonings provided for the closing of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Chicopee, which the Congregation upheld.

Parishioners appealing closure of St. Stan's two years ago and their canonical legal advisers believe the decree received on Tuesday means the diocese must reopen the church as a place of Catholic worship. The Chicopee churches say the same.

The decree from the Congregation of Clergy upholds the suppression of St. Stan's parish and its merger with the two other parishes in Adams but rejects the reasoning behind its closure. The diocese, it states, failed to provide the "grave motivations" for its closing.

As it stands now, the use of the three churches is up to Bishop Timothy A. McDonnel. "It has to be stressed that in each instance the parish itself is not being reestablished and that any permitted use of the building will not be the same as when it was a parish church," according to the statement.

Statement of the Diocese of Springfield

The Diocese of Springfield has now received official notification on five appeals which were under consideration by the Congregation for the Clergy. These decisions involve St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Adams; Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chicopee; St. George Parish, Chicopee; St. Patrick Parish, Chicopee; and Our Lady of Hope Parish, Springfield.

In the matter of Our Lady of Hope Parish, Springfield, the Congregation has upheld the decision by Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell to amalgamate that parish into the new Mary, Mother of Hope Parish also in Springfield.

In the matter of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Chicopee, the Congregation has upheld the decision by Bishop McDonnell both to amalgamate that parish into the Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Chicopee and allowed its closing as a place of worship. It should be noted that subsequently the Bishop has allowed the Assumption Church to re-open temporarily while structural concerns at nearby Holy Name of Jesus Church are investigated. It is currently open as the place of worship for Holy Name of Jesus Parish.

In the matters of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Adams; St. George Parish, Chicopee; and St. Patrick Parish, Chicopee the Congregation has upheld the decision by Bishop McDonnell to amalgamate those parishes, St. Stanislaus into Pope John Paul the Great Parish and both St. George and St. Patrick into the Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Chicopee. In these three instances, however, the Congregation has indicated that, in its judgment, sufficiently grave reason was not provided to close each of these church buildings and that they should be used in some manner as determined by the Bishop. It has to be stressed that in each instance the parish itself is not being reestablished and that any permitted use of the building will not be the same as when it was a parish church.

In the case of these three churches the Congregation seems to be undertaking a new application of Church law. For example it should be noted the circumstances in these three cases was consistent with the diocesan reasoning in the case of the Assumption Church for which the Congregation did uphold closure of the Church. Because of these factors the Bishop is seeking immediate clarification from the Vatican as well as through canon lawyers.

The diocese has also received a request for additional information from the Congregation, but no decision, regarding an appeal by former parishioners at St. Mary Parish in Northampton.

Finally, late yesterday the Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, issued an apology to Bishop McDonnell for having failed to provide the diocese with these decisions in advance of their public release.

 



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Tags: decree, decision      
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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

 

 

 

 



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