CLEVELAND – Saint Casimir Church says its prayers are answered.
Sunday, more than 100 area parishioners came together for a prayer vigil. They wanted to thank the Vatican for overturning the closing of 13 churches by the Cleveland Diocese.
“It's such feeling of brotherhood with people,” said Joseph Feckanin, of St. Casimir. “It's so phenomenal. I think it's sending a big message to Cleveland, to the bishop that this cannot go on.”
In 2009, the Cleveland Diocese started shutting down and merging about 50 parishes, including St. Casimir; the church shut down late that year. It’s been a fixture of the community since 1892.
“God looking down on us cannot be happy to see his people dispersed,” said Stanis Lavzadnik, of St. Lawrence, also one of the 50 parishes closed. “He wants pastors who bring people in, not people who chase them out.”
For the past two-and-a-half years, parishioners like John Niedzialek meet every week outside the church’s locked fence at 82nd Street and Sowinksi Avenue.
Niedzialek attended St. Casimir and its school as a child.
He said reopening the church is important for the community, especially for children.
“On opening day, it'll be a glorious day,” Niedzialek said. “You don't have to ask me why we want to open this church. The beauty of this church and the beauty of the people speak for itself.”
The Cleveland Diocese was not available for comment and has yet to announce plans for the 13 area churches.