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Archdiocese of Boston Finally Evicts Catholics from Closed-Down Church After 11-Year Vigil

BOSTON (AP) — Parishioners of a long-closed Catholic church south of Boston have lost their appeal of a ruling ordering them to end their 11-year, 24/7 vigil inside the building.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed a judge’s ruling Wednesday that parishioners at St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate are trespassing on property owned by the Archdiocese of Boston.

In this Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011 photo, Mary Fernandes prays during a worship service at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Scituate, Mass. Parishioners have just begun their eighth year maintaining a round-the-clock vigil to keep the church open. Until this fall, the archdiocese had paid for the heating at St. Francis X. Cabrini. Then a utility worker cut the power off, saying the bill hadn’t been paid in months. The archdiocese called it an error, but vigil leader Jon Rogers says they’re trying to stop the remaining holdouts. (AP Photo/Gretchen Ertl)

In this Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011 photo, Mary Fernandes prays during a worship service at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Scituate, Mass. (AP Photo/Gretchen Ertl)

The archdiocese shuttered the church in 2004 as part of a reorganization effort, and the parishioners have occupied it since. In March, the archdiocese sued to evict them.

In this Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011 photo, a parishioner adds her name to the vigil sign-up sheet at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Scituate, Mass. Parishioners have just begun their eighth year maintaining a round-the-clock vigil to keep the church open. Until this fall, the archdiocese had paid for the heating at St. Francis X. Cabrini. Then a utility worker cut the power off, saying the bill hadn’t been paid in months. The archdiocese called it an error, but vigil leader Jon Rogers says they’re trying to stop the remaining holdouts. (AP Photo/Gretchen Ertl)

A parishioner adds her name to the vigil sign-up sheet at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Scituate, Mass. (AP Photo/Gretchen Ertl)

The Appeals Court acknowledged the parishioners’ “heartfelt beliefs” that they are entitled to remain in the church.

But the court agreed with the lower court judge’s conclusion that they are trespassing.

Members of a nonprofit organization set up to save the parish said they plan to review legal options with their attorney.

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