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Shuttered church celebrates mass
St. Peter's breaks away from Diocese
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
The old St. Peter's church in downtown Cleveland was among dozens ordered closed by the Catholic diocese.
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When Bishop Richard Lennon of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese closed St. Peter's Church last April, parishioners took matters into their own hands.
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Last year, Bishop Lennon ordered the shuttering of 50 northeast Ohio churches because of shrinking congregations and a declining number of priests.  Members of downtown Cleveland’s St. Peter’s were told to join nearby St. John’s Cathedral.  Instead, they organized a non-profit corporation, the Community of St. Peter, and leased space in a building on Euclid Avenue.
Lennon then sent a letter to each member of St. Peter’s, warning them that their salvation is at stake if they worship together without his approval.
But after the congregants celebrated their first mass last Sunday, Lennon plans to meet with the leaders to bring them back into the fold.
Diocese spokesman Robert Tayek.
"Obviously if you’re not going to live in Communion with the Church and its teachings, so you’re going to be an ex-communicant, then ex-communication would be in store for some of the people, possibly, that would be involved there.  That’s the consequence.”
The mass was conducted by a priest, the Rev. Robert Marrone.
St. Peter’s closing is under appeal with the Vatican.  That means the Diocese can’t sell the 151-year-old building at E. 17th and Superior yet.  According to Tayek, it took five years for similar appeals in Boston to be resolved.

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