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St. James parishioners make emergency appeal to Rome

Posted by Leslie Anderson  October 21, 2011 02:04 PM

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Advocates for parishioners holding vigil at St. James the Great Church in Wellesley filed an emergency motion this morning with officials at the Vatican to suspend the deconsecration of the long-shuttered church, according to Peter Borré, a Boston-based representative for the parishioners.

The motion is a supplement to one already filed in August, which asks for a reversal of the deconsecration.

Parishioners have held a round-the-clock vigil at St. James since 2004, when the Archdiocese of Boston ordered it closed. Last week, the Archdiocese shut off the heat and hot water, citing safety issues with the boiler.

Deconsecration turns a church from a house of worship into a “building” – if the deconsecration is suspended, St. James will resume its status under canon law as a “sacred place,” said Borré. Today’s motion asked for a suspension instead of a reversal because, Borré said, officials are more likely to respond to a moderate request than a major one.

Borré says he hopes to hear a response from the Vatican by early December.

“I think there is growing concern in the Vatican about the shutdown and sale of Catholic churches, which is why were taking every opportunity to challenge those steps,” he said. “So let's see what happens.”

Representatives from the Archdiocese of Boston could not immediately be reached for comment.

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