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 - Three more northeast Ohio Catholic churches reopened their doors Sunday to standing room only crowds.
St. Barbara Church on Denison Avenue in Cleveland, St. Patrick Church on Rocky River Drive in Cleveland's West Park neighborhood, and St. Mary Church in Bedford held homecoming Mass for their parishioners.
At St. Barbara, church bells rang when mass let out. Church members believed the church's location near the Dennison Avenue exit of Jennings Freeway (State Route 176) will make it easy for area residents to get to church and will hopefully keep attendance strong.
St. Barbara parishioner Michael Minich was grateful for those who stood by him and others in the parish when their doors closed.
"We had a lot of support and we thank the people that supported us for these past two years."
At St. Patrick, people stood out the front door while Mass took place. Inside the church, there was not an empty pew to be found as choir members sang with praise during Communion.
St. Patrick parishioner Kathy Beluschak remembered those who helped make the reopen a reality.
"I'm just grateful to all the people who really fought to have this happen. It's a great day. I hope it's this full every Sunday."
At St. Mary, Rev. Daniel Begin greeted church members with smiles and hugs. He saw the church reopening as a new beginning for the church community and the city of Bedford.
"It's going to be just wonderful. It's a new birth. It's a new, exciting day. It's a day that I believe we can all come together."
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.