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 - The organ was playing and the choir was singing once again at St. Adalbert Church on Cleveland's east side.
In 2009, the church was one of several in the Cleveland area that was told to close it's doors by Bishop Richard Lennon. That decision was reversed by the Vatican a few months ago after public outcry.
The church was standing room only on Sunday. Parishioners hugged and greeted each other both before and after today's mass.
"Today is like a rebirth. I've been a member of this church since the seventies. Coming back today is like a new beginning," said long time parishioner Cynthia Sullivan.
"I was baptized here. I was confirmed here. I buried my dad here. This is a place that is very cherished to me," said George Gamble of Cleveland.
Sunday's mass was held by a brand new pastor, Reverend Gary Chmura.
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.