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St. Jeremiah to Become a Syro-Malabar Church

Archdiocese of Boston announced it will close 6 churches, turn an Everett church into a Brazilian oratory and will continue negotiations with the Syro-Malabar Church to purchase St. Jeremiah Parish in Framingham.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, in a press release, announced six churches will close and two churches "have been designated or transferred by the Archdiocese for other future ecclesial uses."

Framingham will be transferred to the Syro-Malabar eparchy, said the Archdiocese. Terms are still being discussed.  The Syro-Malabar Church is an East Syrian Rite in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The Syro-Malabars have allowed the use of the Church by the former parishioners of St. Jeremiah Parish. 

The local Syro-Malabar priests will be responsible for making any further accommodations for a Latin Rite Mass, said the Archdiocese. For information on the Syro-Malabar Church, visit www.smcim.org.

St. Jeremiah, dedicated on July 19, 1958, Parishioners have been allowed to have Mass, with permission from the Syro-Malabar priests.

The Cardinal stopped short of relegating St. Jeremiah to profane use, as it still negotiating transfer of the building to the Syro-Malabar Church. 

Once a Church is relegated to profane use, it will no longer be used for Catholic liturgical worship, any remaining sacred items are removed, and the building can be sold for use in an appropriate and dignified manner. The funds derived from a sale of these Churches will be used for direct support of parishes of the Archdiocese.

Cardinal O’Malley, according to the press release, allowed every means of civil and canonical appeal regarding closed parishes to be pursued over the past six years, involved the Catholic faithful who were former parishioners at the parishes to which these Churches were connected prior to their closure in 2004-2005. 

Churches relegated to profane use and likely will be sold include: St. James the Great, Wellesley, St. Jeanne D’Arc, Lowell, Star of the Sea, Quincy, Our Lady of Lourdes, Revere, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Scituate and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, East Boston. 

These decrees are being notified to the faithful today, July 14 and they become effective on Monday, July 18, 2011.

The future disposition of the Churches and related properties is still under consideration.  For each Church, a specific means will be chosen for preserving their memory and the important place they have had in the lives, hearts and minds of our Catholic faithful.  Whether through the relocating of stained glass windows, or religious statues or other sacred objects, the legacy of the closed Church will live on in other parishes of the Archdiocese, said the release.

The final formal steps in the sale of a Church building depend on local circumstances. The building is listed for sale and negotiations are undertaken with potential buyers. Prior to a sale, and depending on the value of the property, the Archdiocesan Finance Council would also be involved. As stated above, no church which is relegated for profane use will be sold for any purpose which is unbecoming, immoral or offensive to Catholics.

The final formal steps regarding these Churches will be decided over the coming weeks by the Cardinal.  Prior to a possible sale and depending on the value of the property, the Archdiocesan Finance Council would also be consulted.

Also designated for another use was St. Therese in Everett, as an Oratory of St. Anthony Parish in Everett.  An “Oratory” is a sacred place that the bishop has designated for use by a particular group of the faithful for divine worship. Whereas in canon law a “Church” is open to all members of the faithful, an Oratory is used by the members of the group for which it is established.  An ethnically diverse parish, St. Anthony Parish includes English, Italian, Spanish and Brazilian communities.  The intention is that St. Therese Oratory will be used for worship by the Brazilian Catholic community. 

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