BOSTON – The Vatican has rejected the appeals of 10 parishes in the Boston Archdiocese that had petitioned to remain open after being shuttered as part of Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley's reconfiguration plan.
O'Malley announced in January 2004 plans to close more than 80 parishes in response to a decline in the number of priests, changing demographics, and financial troubles brought on in part by the clergy sex abuse scandal.
"We appreciate the disappointment that this news brings to those who submitted the appeals and all who are saddened by the parish closings," O'Malley said in a statement Saturday.
The Council of Parishes, a coalition that includes eight of the parishes that lost appeals, plans to weigh its options, which could include further appeals to the Vatican, said co-chairman Peter Borre. The group also discussed filing a lawsuit in civil court.
While many parishioners expected the rejections, they were surprised by the timing.
"We had no idea this was coming from the Vatican, especially not on a Saturday," said parishioner Jackie Lemmerhirt, who has participated in a round-the-clock vigil at St. Jeremiah, one of the parishes that appealed.