CLEVELAND -- Bishop Richard Lennon announced at a Tuesday morning news conference that the Diocese will reopen a dozen closed churches.
The move comes after an analysis of Vatican decrees which determined that the bishop failed to follow church law in the closings.
"I have engaged in a prayerful and thoughtful process over the last few weeks. It's time for peace and unity in the Diocese of Cleveland," Bishop Lennon said.
Bishop Lennon had the option to reopen the churches or appeal further. He says the decision to reopen the churches was made to prevent prolonging the process. An additional appeal could have taken years.
The impacted churches are:
- St. Mary (Akron)
- St. John the Baptist (Akron)
- St. Mary (Bedford)
- St. Adalbert (Cleveland)
- St. Barbara (Cleveland)
- St. Casimir (Cleveland)
- St. Emeric (Cleveland)
- St. Patrick (Cleveland)
- St. Peter (Cleveland)
- St. Wendelin (Cleveland)
- St. James (Lakewood)
- St. Mary (Lorain)
The Bishop says work will begin to open the churches in an orderly fashion as quickly as possible. He adds staffing will be a significant challenge and will require Diocese resources to be spread thinner.
He will work with the parishes to coordinate planning for the restoration of operations, the return of sacred objects and minor maintenance and clean-up if required.
"This is a time for all Catholics to come together with God's help, and strive to strengthen our Diocesan Church in serving the pastoral needs and spiritual needs of all the people," the Bishop announced.
Lennon says the churches will continue to face the same challenges that led the Diocese to close dozens of additional parishes three years ago.
"It will be essential for each of these parishes to demonstrate on an ongoing basis that they have the active membership and financial wherewithal to sustain themselves."
He made clear that the parishes that appealed the closings had every right to do so under canon law.
Many callers asked WKYC about St. Margaret Mary in South Euclid.
The Diocese says that parish was not part of the original appeal granted by the Vatican. Because of that, St. Margaret Mary will remain closed.