Archdiocese Rules St. Therese to Remain Open

July 20, 2011
By

After thousands of days in vigil, St. Therese Parish on Broadway will be allowed to remain open, but as a church for the Brazilian Catholic community.  All masses will be conducted in Portuguese.

It is a move that dedicated vigil holders – who have manned the church day and night for seven years through an informal network – plan to resist.

In a surprising and unexpected move last Thursday, Cardinal Sean O’Malley announced that he had made a decision on the eight parishes that are in flux within the Archdiocese.

St. Therese Church in Everett and seven other churches protested the closing of their parishes in 2004 when numerous parishes were closed. Many of those parishes protested the closing, and filed appeals in Rome. Many of those appeals are still ongoing in Rome, including an appeal for Our Lady of Lourdes Church in neighboring Revere.

St. Therese never filed an appeal, but dedicated parishioners – mostly elderly – stayed on vigil in the church for years.

A sign outside counts down the days, which numbers in the thousands.

Dedicated parishioners occupied the property even when the Archdiocese cut off the heat in the dead of winter.

They prayed.

They sang.

They conducted meetings, and they united as a “rogue” church community.

Now, the Parish church they protected and kept from being eliminated is going strictly for use by Brazilian Catholics worshipping in the Portuguese language.

That decision came within the release, which appeared suddenly at noon on Thursday.

“The Cardinal has designated St. Therese in Everett as an Oratory of St. Anthony Parish in Everett,” read the release. “An ‘Oratory’ is a sacred place that the bishop has designated for use by a particular group of the faithful for divine worship. Whereas in canon law a ‘Church’ is open to all members of the faithful, an Oratory is used by the members of the group for which it is established. An ethnically diverse parish, St. Anthony Parish includes English, Italian, Spanish and Brazilian communities. The intention is that St. Therese Oratory will be used for worship by the Brazilian Catholic community.”

Published reports from those in vigil at St. Therese indicated that they are offended by the decision and do not plan to give up the vigil any time soon.

One other church of the eight, in Framingham, was also allowed to remain open as a special worship center.

Meanwhile, six other churches that are currently in vigil or on appeal in Rome were desanctified on Monday by the Cardinal. The Archdiocese indicated that those churches would most likely be appraised and then sold to interested parties – with all monies from any sales being routed to support Parishes within the Archdiocese.

Those parishes on appeal said they didn’t give last Thursday’s announcement much credence and they will continue their fights in Rome, and they are encouraged by several recent decisions that have re-opened closed churches in America.

“This is just another bump in the road,” said John Verrengia of Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere. “We’re still moving forward with our appeal and according to Canon Law the property cannot be touched until everything is resolved.”

  • Fearleas

    Ok, so the famously famous “Cardinal Sean” is a big a pr*ck as the other b*sh*ps! Welcome to the samo old same old.

  • Lilith

    I am not even surprised. Cardinal O’Malley couldn’t care less about the longtime parishioners of Everett, he is too busy being politically correct and casting his eye toward his next appointment. As a Catholic, I knew right from the beginning this guy was bad news, and I was right, unfortunately. Imagine being one of these wonderful, brave parishioners who have take on the VATICAN for all these years, and then hearing your papal delegate has decided to hand your church over to someone else! What total and predicatble arrogance on the part of the Cardinal! But, then, what have any of us Catholics gotten from the Church but arrogance and deceit. Shame on them, God forgive the hierarchy of the Church!

  • Gerry Fox

    I think this is a DISGRACE!!!!  American Catholics are the ones that kept this vigil for 7 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Now only Brazilians can go there, give me a break!!!!!!!!  How prejudie can you get.  They are taking over our city.  I have nothing against anyone but it’s not fair what these Brazilian people are doing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What about the elderly in the elderly resident homes a little further down Broadway and also the ones on Ferry St.?  This is the church they attended and haven’t had a church close by and still won’t !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • O Roosevelt

    I encourage all of you to think not as Xenophobics and more like human beings that understand the needs of the community and of all fellow man. I am a resident of everett and admire the Brazilian community for their strength and hard working spirit, no matter who is praying there the God that I serve can understand all languages and if the Brazilians would be praying there the church would still be open for you too, to come, commune and be a diverse community in church as well. I say, “Give me a break!” Old fart and racist?