City of Holyoke Buys Closed Church At Center Of Long-Running Dispute

HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) — A closed Roman Catholic church in Holyoke slated for demolition has been sold to the city, which plans to keep it open as a community resource.

The $50,000 sale of Mater Dolorosa was announced this week by Mayor Alex Morse and Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski.

The diocese closed the church in 2011 because of declining attendance and structural deficiencies including a steeple some engineers said was in danger of collapse. Other disagreed, saying the steeple was sound.

The parish was founded in 1901 to serve the city's Polish population.

Parishioners held a round-the-clock vigil and fought the closure all the way to the Vatican's highest court, which ruled against them in 2015.

The sale needs city council approval.

Morse said Thursday he will lease the church, which still needs $150,000 in repairs.

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