SOUTH EUCLID -- On Sunday, parishioners of Saint Margaret Mary Church informed Bishop Richard G. Lennon of the Diocese of Cleveland that they have begun proceedings to appeal his decision not to reopen their church.
It was widely reported on March 7 that the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy has issued 13 decrees, calling for the reopening of the churches who appealed their closure.
St. Margaret Mary was listed as one of the thirteen to be reopened.
The Congregation specifically ruled that the Bishop erred both legally and procedurally in his church closing actions. On April 17, Lennon announced he would not appeal the ruling and that he would reopen twelve churches.
This was the first time the public or the parishioners were informed that the closure appeal of the St. Margaret Mary church had been denied.
However the Diocese stated they knew this since early March, yet neglected to tell anyone.
After consultation with canon lawyers, the parishioners began the appeal process.
They have already contacted Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Apostolic Nuncio or "Ambassador to the Pope" in Washington, DC.
Appeal documents are being routed to His Eminence Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, both in Rome.
Bishop Lennon was also specifically reminded of Canon law 1638, which states "An appeal suspends the execution of the sentence". This was done to insure that nothing is to change regarding the parish status including investments or the state of the church building and the movable goods.
"Too many questions were unanswered by the Diocese", stated Patt Gronick, one of the parishioners who appealed to Rome. "In some cases we received conflicting answers to the same question. Since March 7, we have been joyous and preparing for our church reopening, only to have our hopes crushed by the announcement on April 17. We respect the Bishop and his office, but we want what is just. We are making this announcement to protect our church during the appeal."
The parishioners will be having a prayer service and information session at 7 p.m. April 25 at the St. Margaret Mary Church at 4217 Bluestone Road.
All past members of the church, future members and interested parties are welcome to attend.