Boston church suspends vigil, agrees to merger after talk with archbishop

.- Parishioners of St. Bernard Parish in the Archdiocese of Boston called off the 24-hour vigil they held at the church since Oct. 24, after a 90-minute meeting with their archbishop, reported the Boston Globe.

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley requested a meeting with parishioners three weeks ago and met with them Jan. 10

The West Newton church was slated for closure, and later for a merger with nearby Corpus Christi Parish, but parishioners decided to occupy the church to prevent these actions, which they believed “pitted them against the other parish,” reported the Globe.

But after their meeting with Archbishop O’Malley, parishioners are convinced that they should give the merger a go, under the supervision of Fr. James M. Mahoney. They are now discussing rehiring administrative staff, restarting religious education courses, and recalling parishioners who left for other parishes.

St. Bernard’s property is assessed at $11 million, the highest of any church in the archdiocese. It includes a private school for special needs students and a 114-year-old house that used to be home of the church's caretaker.

The archdiocese closed 51 parishes last year and is expected to close another 30 this year. Seven churches that have been officially closed remain occupied by parishioners.


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