Mater Dolorosa parishioners gather to commemorate closing - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Mater Dolorosa parishioners gather to commemorate closing

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It has now been two years since the doors to the Mater Dolorosa Church closed.

Sunday morning, parishioners from the church gathered outside of the building to commemorate the time that has gone by.

The group continues to wait on a ruling from the Vatican as to whether or not they can use the building again for non-religious purposes.

With a new leadership in Rome, the parishioners remain optimistic about their chances.

"I mean, it's gone on for so long, and we have no inkling of what the diocese wants to do," said Henry Dziok, a member of the church for more than 80 years. "Hopefully, with the new Pope in there, we can probably have some communication and sit down and talk with somebody. We're not scared to talk. If you stick together, things are going to happen."

The parishioners continued their two-year anniversary remembrance Saturday evening with a ceremony in Chicopee.

The group honored officials and others who have helped their cause.

One honoree explained why the church is so important to her.

"My parents were married in the Mater Dolorosa Church," said Beth Strycharc. "I was baptized in the Mater Dolorosa Church. My parents have since passed, but there are a lot of feelings now because I remember going to the Polish masses Christmas Eve, and I remember my mother especially singing in Polish, which I can't even speak Polish."

Also honored Sunday evening was Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who ordered scaffolding to be removed from the front of the church.

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