With the recent announcement that the Vatican's Congregation of Clergy ordered 13 Cleveland Diocese parishes reopened the Wellsville Catholics gained renewed hope for the now closed Immaculate Conception Parish. In 2009 and 2010 Bishop Lennon of the Cleveland Diocese closed 50 parishes. Thirteen of them appealed that ruling. It was found that the closings were done in violation of various Canon Laws and those 13 were ordered reopened by Vatican officials.
In a meeting last week Save the Immaculate Conception Parish Committee Co-chair Tom Brophey reported that they received an e-mail from church activist Peter Borre that he is getting favorable vibes in Rome that the Bishop may be reconsidering his closing of the Immaculate Conception Parish. Boston resident Borre is representing many parishes throughout the country in their appeals to Vatican officials to get their parishes reopen. Borre represents those parishes in Cleveland that were mentioned, Wellsville's Immaculate Conception and many more in the United States and Canada. Being fluent in Latin Borre works with the Roman Canon lawyers representing the closed parishes in their appeals to the Vatican. Everything done at the Vatican in Rome is done using the Latin language. Wellsville Co-chair Beverly Hentzell was quoted in a Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article as saying “Peter's a champion”.
Brophey went on to explain there were many similarities found in the reasons for ordering the reopening of the Cleveland Diocese parishes that raise hope they will also be considered for reopening the Wellsville parish. In their appeal filed by Peter Borre there were 10 violations of Canon Law listed for reasons the closing of Immaculate Conception should be reversed. Many of the same violations were cited in the reopening orders for the Cleveland parishes.
Meanwhile the Wellsville parishioners keep the faith in hopes that their church will soon be reopened. It's been a two year campaign for their prayers and efforts to be answered. Fund raising continues with a gas card raffle underway. The Committee is offering chances on a $100 BP gas card to be drawn May 17. Chances are $1 each or 6 for $5. There will be a pancake breakfast on Saturday, May 5 from 9 to 11 AM at the SOI. The public is invited.
In cooperation with the Wellsville Area Ministerial Association it was announced that there will be a Good Friday Cross Walk on Friday, April 6. The walk will form up at the Immaculate Conception parking lot at 11th Street with participants marching down Main Street to the Mt. Zion Church at 1617 Main. There will be a noon Good Friday service at Mt. Zion FBH.
Hentzell also announced that there will be prayer service and joining of hands in a human chain around the Immaculate Conception Church held on Sunday, May 6. The service will culminate in the crowning of the Blessed Mother. The time of the service will be announced at a later date. The public is invited to join in.
Regular Saturday prayer services are still being held at the First United Methodist Church at 3:30 PM each week-end. The next meeting of Save the Immaculate Conception Parish Committee is scheduled for Thursday, April 12 at the SOI Club, 327 Main St.