CLEVELAND, Ohio – Some Catholics in Cleveland still cannot worship where they want on the Holiest day of the year. They had hoped a ruling from a higher power would put them back in their home church by now.
A group of parishioners of St. Casimir’s on Cleveland’s east side worshiped outside on Easter Sunday. They have been holding street prayer services every Sunday since the Diocese closed their church in November of 2009.
Parishioners like Krystyna Morena are sad and frustrated. “We’ve been out here 2 1/2 years worshiping on the sidewalk, when we should be inside,” Moreno said.
The Pope, in a Vatican Decree issued last month, declared that St. Casimir and 12 other Cleveland area churches should not have closed and that the parishes should be restored. The parishioners of St. Casimir’s have appealed to Bishop Richard Lennon and the Diocese of Cleveland to comply with the Vatican ruling.
“We’re ready to go inside. Rome wants us to be inside. There’s only one man stopping us,” Parishioner Stanislav Zadnik said. “Richard Lennon is very fond of issuing commands. Well, he needs to learn to obey a command,” Zadnik added.
Bishop Lennon has said that he and his advisers are reviewing the Vatican Ruling. In a letter dated March 27th, the Bishop said “although the decrees are brief in length, they are deep in underlying meaning and I continue to receive significant input and clarification.”
Moreno said she just wants their prayers answered and St. Casimir’s re-opened. “We just want the Bishop to respond to us as soon as possible – to give us our keys and to open our church,” she said.
But until that happens, the faithful of St. Casimir’s will continue to hold their weekly Sunday prayer services outside the church. Bishop Lennon and the Diocese of Cleveland have until Mid-May to decide whether to appeal the Vatican Ruling.