CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The closing and consolidation of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese continues this week with the closing Mass at St. Emeric church.
Click here for a full list of church closings and merges.
Following its 106 year existence as a Cleveland parish, the community of St. Emeric had been scheduled to be suppressed permanently on June 30th, 2010, in spite of 15 months of continuing appeals and steadfast resistance to the closure from parishioners. This was to be the last of 56 scheduled Cleveland church closings resulting from the Cleveland Diocesan Reconfiguration Plan initiated 3-years ago by its architect, Bishop Lennon.
Although an appeal to the Vatican Council of Clergy is still pending, a June 30th closing Mass had been announced by the Diocese, with Bishop Lennon presiding.
Given these circumstances, the status of St Emeric remains open under canon law. In spite of the reversal, many St Emeric parishioners, supported by a significant number of people from other closed Catholic churches, other denominations, and ethnic communities will go forward with plans for a prayer litany at 4 pm, preceded by peaceful demonstrations and media interviews starting at 3pm.
Following the 4 pm prayer litany, a Christian fellowship dialog / vigil will commence to discuss concerns, including the pastoral needs of affected Catholics in dealing with emotional issues of losing their church and for transition plans for their faith. Bishop Lennon and/or any spokespersons for the Diocese are welcome to participate in this pastoral care and dialog session.
Many Catholics feel that Bishop Lennon has grossly failed in his pastoral duties to these closed congregations, and that the Diocesan Reconfiguration Plan will result in a spiritual and emotional turmoil for Cleveland Catholics, and economic disaster for affected Cleveland neighborhoods. Furthermore, the damaging long-term consequences of the lost parishes will be felt for generations, to the detriment of Catholicism and personal religious freedoms.