Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Supporters of St. Mary’s church in Jamesville were hoping a recent Vatican decree would help re-open St. Mary’s Church in Syracuse, but the Diocese of Syracuse said Tuesday it will remain closed.
One group has been trying for the past few years to get it back open. What seems to be the case is that two groups are reading into the latest decree differently. The bishop says the decrees come in Latin and only states the church must be available in the future on occasion for church services.
Bishop Cunningham says, "The Vatican is very clear this doesn't mean it'll be regular weekend masses and liturgies there, but there will be occasional worship services held in the former building."
The diocese closed the church in 2006 and merged the parish with Holy Cross in DeWitt, citing several reasons for the decision, such as lack of personnel, size of the congregations and proximity to other churches. The bishop says it’s still the case. He said the latest decree also upholds the merger of the parishes.
"If a person has been to Rome they know there are many church buildings in Rome but they're not all parishes, there are churches on almost every corner,” said Bishop Cunningham.
After the beginning of the year Bishop Cunningham says the diocese will come up with a plan for occasional use of the church for things like weddings and funerals.
In November, the Vatican’s highest court upheld the decision of the diocese of Springfield to close three western Massachusetts parishes, including one that’s been occupied by worshipers protesting its closure since December 2008. It did not find the bishop had enough reasons to downgrade the buildings to secular use so they could be sold.