Vatican Reversal Restores Hope in Closed Church

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Vatican decrees to restore 13 closed Catholic Churches has especially restored the hope of one Cleveland congregation.

The faithful of St. Patrick Church in Cleveland held their own Sunday worship service, outside on church grounds, as they have done every Sunday since the doors to St. Pat closed in May of 2010.

They hope their prayers are being heard. They say this parish still has a vital role in the city’s West Park neighborhood.  They are hoping Bishop Richard Lennon of the Diocese of Cleveland will follow the Vatican’s ruling and reopen their church in a timely fashion. Paul Racette, with the Save St. Pat Committee, said the Bishop has a duty to reopen these churches. “These are decrees. These aren’t just a suggestion. He has been given orders to open these churches,” Racette added.

The Diocese of Cleveland acknowledged receiving the order from the Vatican last Wednesday. In a statement on the Diocese website, Bishop Lennon indicated that the Pope’s rulings are being reviewed by his advisers. While speaking at an event for Catholic Charities Friday, reporters pressed the Bishop on the church closing issue. But, he chose not to comment on it.

Patricia Schulte-Singleton, a vocal advocate in the effort to save St. Patrick Church, said she and other parishioners are wondering what the Bishop will do. “He does need to be obedient and follow the Vatican decrees pretty much to the letter, which is restoring our parish and open our church doors,” she said adamantly.

“We believe that all we need is an opportunity to get people into our church, and our parish will flourish,” Racette said.

Schulte-Singleton agreed and added that the Vatican decree has given the parishioners of St. Patrick more hope that they will soon be able to worship inside their church. But, until that happens, they will continue to hold their Sunday services outside.