Latest Council of Parishes Bid Rejected, St. James to Stay Closed
The Pope rejected a recent bid to re-open several area parishes, including St. James the Great.
The Council of Parishes' latest bid to re-open nine closed Massachusetts churches – including St. James the Great – was shut down, this time by the Pope himself.
Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the second highest-ranking Vatican official, signed a brief Dec. 15 letter, originally obtained by the Associated Press today, addressed to Peter Borre, chair of the Council of Parishes.
"The Holy Father [Pope Benedict XVI] was apprised of the question, which was also clearly studied by this office," according to the letter. "I regret to inform you, however, that His Holiness has decided not to accept your appeal."
Borre said despite the October effort to open the parishes, which were ordered to close in the 2004 decree by Archdiocese of Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, he is encouraged it made the highest ranks of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
"The issue of the nine closed parishes has been explained to the Pope," he said. "The goal here was to raise the issues at the highest levels of the Vatican."
Five of the nine parishes, including St. James located at 900 Worcester St (Route 9 East), have held 24 hour, seven day a week vigils since the closings. Borre said he does not know what each individual parish will do at this point.
Terrence Donilon, secretary of communications for the Archdiocese of Boston, said the Archdiocese will continue to work with the parishioners, adding that there are "no winners or losers" with regard to the ongoing situation.
"The vigils are going to have to end at some point," he said.
St. James was one of several area churches shut down by Cardinal Sean O'Malley in 2004. Last May the Vatican's highest court ruled that the church, along with others in neighboring communities, would remain closed.