Measures Taken to Protect Churches in Limbo

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CLEVELAND -- St. Patrick Catholic Church, on Cleveland’s Rocky River Drive, appears no less majestic than the day Bishop Richard Lennon ordered its doors closed in May of 2009.

But what about the inside of the now shuttered building?

The church is one of 13 properties sitting in limbo since an appeal of its closing was filed.

Robert Tayek, Director of Media and Public Relations for the Diocese, told Fox 8’s Lorrie Taylor anything of value was removed from the properties and segregated by parish to ensure the items could be returned to the correct building.

“That was for fear of vandalism and theft and they’ve been maintained in proper storage,” said Tayek.

According to the Diocesan spokesperson, churches have been victimized by vandals in the past, so to prevent that from happening to the group of 13, items determined to be sacred, religious or high value were removed for their own protection.

Tayek said proper care had also been provided to the buildings.

“Not only might they be reused now, depending on what transpires, but even if they were put up for sale they have to be in good, workable condition,” said Tayek. “So yes, the Facilities Group from the Diocese has been responsible, in most cases, of maintaining all of that,” he said.

Tayek told Taylor some parishes, like Blessed Trinity near West 140th and Puritas, took responsibility for the upkeep of churches that were merged.

As for how long it could take to restore each of the closed buildings, Tayek said it was hard to conjecture.

“I don’t know what it might take to place all of those items back in because they vary.  Some were marble and had to be removed by crane just because of their weight, others were rather delicate and would need to be placed properly,” he said.

Tayek said Bishop Lennon had not yet seen the legal documents reversing the closure of the 13 buildings.

How the Diocese proceeds will determine how quickly the doors might reopen.

Lennon ordered the closing of 50 parishes in the eight county Diocese.

About 30 have been sold.

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