Vatican sides With Bishop, St. John The Baptist Remains Closed
The historic St. John the Baptist Church in New Bedford will remain closed for at least awhile longer.
The Vatican Congregation for the Clergy has upheld the decision by Fall River Bishop George Coleman to close St. John’s.
Bishop Coleman says the County Street building needed $1.5 million worth of repairs, and attendance at the church had fallen off in recent years.
The Friends of St. John’s the Baptist say they’ll appeal the decision to the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority at the Vatican, besides the Pope. In the meantime, the parishoners continue to hold candlelight vigils and raise money for their campaign.
The church closed its doors in November, 2012, and parishoners were directed to attend services at nearby Mount Carmel Church. St. John the Baptist is the oldest Portuguese parish in North America.