The parishioners who have spent 11 years keeping a vigil in the closed St. Frances X. Cabrini church in Scituate were dealt another blow two weeks ago when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court denied their request for further review by the courts.
At the time, Jon Rogers, a spokesperson for the Friends of St. Frances, a group of about 100 parishioners have kept a 24-7 vigil in the church, said they would “throw every option onto the table.’’
That means appealing to the United States Supreme Court.
But first, the group will appear in Norfolk Superior Court Monday afternoon. After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court denied their request for further review, The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston filed a motion to have the parishioners removed from the church by January 8. In response, the Friends of St. Frances filed an emergency motion in Norfolk Superior Court to try to have any future orders from the Archdiocese suspended as they work on their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We have 90 days from the time we heard back from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to file with the Supreme Court,’’ MaryEllen Rogers, another spokesperson for the Friends of St. Frances said. “We’re in that process now.’’
Terrence Donilon, the spokesman for The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, said the archdiocese would defer comment at this time respecting the ongoing legal process.
“We again ask the Friends of St. Frances Cabrini to conclude the vigil,’’ he added. “The parishes of the Archdiocese welcome and invite those involved with the vigil to participate and join in the fullness of parish life.’’
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston decided to shutter the church in 2004 as part of a reorganization plan, but the group had other ideas. They’ve made sure at least one member of the church has been inside the building at all times to prevent the archdiocese from closing it.
In June 2014, the group lost its appeal to the Apostolic Signatura, which is the Vatican’s highest court. In February, the archdiocese sued the group for trespassing when they wouldn’t vacate the church. A Norfolk Superior Court judge sided with the archdiocese in May and told the group to leave. They appealed and continued their vigil.
In October, the state Appeals Court ruled that parishioners of St. Frances were trespassing and had to leave. The court also said the archdiocese — rather than the parishioners — owned the building, which gave it the right to make decisions about its future.
The parishioners, however, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, hasn’t visited once since they began their vigil 11 years ago. The Rogerses said the Friends once again invite O’Malley to meet in effort to find a solution outside of the courts.
But MaryEllen said the only communication they’ve seen from the Archdiocese is a demolition truck, which pulled into the church parking lot last week.