“It still belongs to the parishioners,” says Gina Scalcione, who was among dozens of protesters who showed up in front of the church on Thursday. “I have been here all these years, and I often slept here.”
Throughout its history, the church had come to symbolize an important focal point of the local Italian immigrant community.
The Archidiocese’s move to change the locks and shut out parishioners comes several months after Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s decision to sell six Massachusetts churches, including Mt. Carmel in East Boston.
The archdiocese released a statement yesterday through spokeswoman Kellyanne Dignan:
“For the better part of seven years, we have permitted the vigil while the petitioners pursued various appeals,” the statement said. “The time for this vigil to end has come.”
The parishioners now have 60 days to appeal to the Vatican supreme court.
The church was closed by the Archdiocese on Columbus Day weekend of 2004. Parishioners quickly moved into the church, occupying it and obtaining important concessions from the Archdiocese, which desisted from using force to evict the occupiers.
Here below are two reports (Dec. 2004, and May 2005) by RAI correspondent Stefano Salimbeni.