The pastor of a Cleveland congregation holding worship services inside a former warehouse is speaking out following a decree of excommunication by Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon.
CLEVELAND - St. Patrick's Day may still be over a week away, but the luck of the Irish was shining upon the people of Cleveland's St. Patrick's Parish.
Three years ago this month they learned their church would close along with 50 other in the eight-county Cleveland diocese. This week, they learned the Vatican ordered their parish restored.
"The Bishop of Cleveland is instructed to enact the implications of this decree," said Patricia Schulte-Singleton in reading the decree to a crowd of parishioners, most wearing green "St. Pat's" shirts. "This means that all 13 parishes are now full fledged Catholic parishes under Canon law," she said to applause from the crowd that has fought to keep this parish open.
Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon now has 60 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling. In the meantime, Schulte-Singleton said she know's an ideal good will gesture from the diocese.
"We believe that the most perfect opportunity for St. Pat's to initiate the opening of our parish doors would be to celebrate mass at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 17, 2012."
The very thought of a St. Patrick's Day mass drew thunderous applause from the crowd.
Pope Benedict XVI will be held high regard by members of Cleveland churches ordered reopened by the Vatican under his watch, a lay leader of a spared congregation said Monday.
St. Casimir parishioners celebrated their first Christmas inside parish since the Cleveland Catholic Diocese shut down 13 local dioceses.
Mass will again be held at St. Emeric Catholic Church beginning Nov. 4, and the pastor of the parish has just been announced.
The last of 11 churches closed by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese and later spared by the Vatican is planning its reopening.