Diocese: No services at St. Stan's

Posted

Thursday February 17, 2011

ADAMS -- The Vatican may have ordered the Diocese of Springfield to reopen St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, but the former house of worship will no longer function as a parish church, according to the diocese.

In a written statement released on Wednesday, the diocese stated that the Vatican's decision on Tuesday to reopen St. Stan's as a place of worship does not mean that the former church's parish will be re-established, adding that "any permitted use of the building will not be the same as when it was a parish church."

Diocese spokesman Mark E. Dupont did not return a telephone call seeking further explanation of the statement. Before the statement was released, Dupont said that with the exception of technical questions, the diocese would have no further comment.

Laurie Haas, who led the campaign to keep St. Stan's open, declined to comment on the diocese's written statement on Wednesday afternoon because she had not read it closely.

In a four-page decree, the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy declared on Tuesday that St. Stan's must reopen as a place of worship, but that the diocese could appeal to the Vatican's highest court, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

The congregation did uphold the 2008 decision by Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell to consolidate St. Stan's into Pope John Paul the Great Parish in Adams. The diocese announced in August 2008 that it would close St. Stan's in order to consolidate the parish with the other Adams parishes of St. Thomas and Notre Dame. The new parish is based at the former Notre Dame de Sacre Couer Church on Columbia Street.

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St. Stan's officially closed in December 2008, but parishioners began an around-the-clock vigil that lasted for more than two years.

On Tuesday, Mauro Cardinal Placenza, the prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy, determined that Bishop McDonnell wasn't justified in closing St. Stan's whose attendance for Mass and financial health were better than either St. Thomas or Notre Dame's.

In its written statement, the diocese stated that the Congregation of the Clergy "seems to be undertaking a new application of church law" in upholding McDonnell's decisions involving the consolidation of Pope John Paul the Great Parish and parishes in Chicopee and Springfield.

The circumstances in all three cases were "consistent with the diocese's reasoning," the statement read, noting that the Congregation of the Clergy upheld the bishop's decision to close Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Chicopee as a place of worship.

"Because of these factors the bishop is seeking immediate clarification from the Vatican as well as through canon lawyers," the statement read.

McDonnell has allowed the Assumption Church to reopen temporarily while structural concerns at nearby Holy Name of Jesus Church are investigated.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6224.


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