Tuesday, July 29, 2014 06:58pm
North Adams, MA now: 66 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
St. Stan's Vigil to Mark Two Years
By: Andy McKeever On: 11:26PM / Thursday December 23, 2010
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

 ADAMS, Mass. — The altar at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church is once again covered with a bevy of cheery red poinsettias. It's been a tradition over the years to turn the front of the sanctuary into an overflowing garden at Christmastime.

But as the Friends of St. Stan's enter their third year of protest over the historic church's closure, the setting out of the poinsettias has become a benchmark in a lengthening vigil.

Sunday will mark two years that vigilkeepers have been staying in the church in hopes of convincing the Vatican that the house of worship their grandparents and great-grandparents built a century ago will be around for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There is no sign of an end to the vigil as the cold creeps back into the pews.

"It's still going strong and we're entering our third winter now," said Eugene Michalenko, one of the spokesman for the vigil effort, on Thursday. "We have heard nothing yet."

St. Stan's was ordered closed as part of a consolidation in the Springfield Diocese; the parish and that of Notre Dame and St. Thomas were to be joined up the street at Notre Dame, newly renamed as Pope John Paul the Great. The use of the first Polish pope's name didn't appease  some in the congregation, who immediately set up the vigil.

So for two years now, at least one person has been in the Polish church to keep the diocese from locking the doors. The vigilers will hold a small celebration and sing Christmas carols at 1 p.m. on the anniversary.

Volunteers are there round the clock, taking turns and even sleeping in the cold church. This year, a space heater warms a small room behind the altar to give the faithful some respite.

The group is waiting on a decision from the Vatican that could take years. Parishioners joined eight other churches in the state in appealing their closures to the Apostolic Signatory but that decision has been delayed multiple times. The Signatory is the last step in the appeals process.


Cold weather will not stop the St. Stan's vigil as it enters its third year. The church was closed by the Springfield Diocese on Dec. 30 two years ago.
The building is no longer a church in the eyes of the Springfield Diocese and Mass is not held there, but parishioners do still pray there.

If St. Stan's is empty, church officials will lock the doors and strip the interior of religious relics before it sells the building.

Vigilers fear their Polish heritage will be stripped along with icons and stained glass.

In Boston, vigils continue in a handful of churches; in other parts of the country, vigil attempts have been cut short by police action. The Friends of St. Stan's were concerned about that at first but an uneasy truce with the diocese has left both playing a waiting game.

The massive chandeliers, the painted ceiling and all the decorations and architecture has created one of the most beautiful churches in the county. Vigilkeepers say it's priceless and by staying in the building, the church will remain intact.

And so the annual tradition of decorating the altar still continues, but change is inevitable. Zepka J & Sons Florists used to bring thousands of flowers into the church every winter but this year it had to be scaled back, Michalenko said.

The 100-year-old florist closed this fall; owner Matthew Zepka, a longtime usher and Eucharistic minister at St. Stan's, died last December at the age of 89.

Thomas Zepka, his son, used his connections with wholesalers to bring in about 60 red poinsettias this year.

"Now people are buying them individually and bringing them in," Michalenko said. "It's not as big as it used to be. The alter used to be full."



9 Comments
Tags: anniversary, Christmas      
News Headlines
Weather Service Reports Dalton Hit by Tornado
Mohawk Trail Being Honored at 59th Fall Foliage Parade
Melito Family Reunion in North Adams
Three Berkshires Men Fighting Fires in Northwest
Pittsfield Councilors Favor Opposition to Gas Pipeline
North Adams Housing Agency Reaching Asset Deal With City
Williamstown Town, Fire Discuss Coordinating Annual Meetings
Wilber Off to Strong Start at YMCA Nationals
Berkshire Force Set to Host Softball World Series
Mount Greylock Alums Reunite to Play at Reunion
 
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:
Ruling Closing Tomkowitz Reopening New Orleans Vigil Marians Decree Opening Divine Mercy Congregation Of Clergy Anniversary Trabold Hajdas Appeal Time Thanksgiving Appeals Council Of Churches Decision Christmas Republican Apostolic Signatura Decision Deicision Borre
Popular Entries:
St. Stan's Announces Church Is Saved
Diocese Releases Statement on St. Stan's Ruling
St. Stan Vigilers Hope Prayers Answered
Diocese, Vigilers Appeal Ruling on St. Stan's
First Western Hemisphere Divine Mercy Images Still at St. Stan's
St. Stanislaus Church To Reopen
Boston Setback Doesn't Shake Vigilers' Faith
St. Stan's Vigil to Mark Two Years
Diocese Says Vatican Upholds Closure of St. Stan's
St. Stanislaus Reopens For Palm Sunday Mass
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


View All
Pittsfield Ethnic Fair 2014
North Street in Pittsfield had a double-dose of block...
LaFesta Baseball 2014
The LaFesta Baseball Exchange, celebrating 24 years, pits...
Adams Polish Picnic 2014
Adams residents enjoyed traditional Polish food and music...
Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill...
Over 50 cars packed into the Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill...
BYP Networking at Naumkeag
The Berkshire Young Professionals met at the historic...
Pittsfield Shakespeare...
Pittsfield's Shakespeare in the Park free performances at...
Lanesborough Kids Fire Camp...
Lanesborough Fire Department held its annual Kids Fire Camp...
Lanesborough Fire Drill
The Lanesborough Fire Department trains on basement fires...
Pittsfield Polish Picnic
Crowds lined up for golabki and kapusta at the annual...
North Adams Kids Emergency...
The North Adams 21st Century Community Learning Center...
Gather-in Festival 2014
The 42nd annual Gather-In festival was held at Pitt Park in...
BFAIR Mini-Golf Fundraiser
Berkshire Family and Individual Resources held its annual...
Lanesborough Seeds of Harmony...
Bradly Farm in...
Hinsdale Block Party
The Hinsdale Fire Department hosted its annual block party...
Arrowhead Country Craft Fair
Arrowhead, Herman Melville's home in Pittsfield, is hosting...
Pittsfield 3rd Thursday July...
Shakespeare was the theme for this month's 3rd Thursday...
Pittsfield Ethnic Fair 2014
North Street in Pittsfield had a double-dose of block...
LaFesta Baseball 2014
The LaFesta Baseball Exchange, celebrating 24 years, pits...
Adams Polish Picnic 2014
Adams residents enjoyed traditional Polish food and music...
Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill...
Over 50 cars packed into the Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill...
BYP Networking at Naumkeag
The Berkshire Young Professionals met at the historic...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved