HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - It's been an ongoing battle between the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese and the parishioners.
For the last two years, many of the Mater Dolorosa faithful have been protesting the closing of their historic church.
Exactly two years ago, June 30th 2011, Mater Dolorosa in Holyoke closed after the Diocese of Springfield merged the parish with the Holy Cross parish.
On Sunday, on the two year anniversary of the closing, about 70 parishioners gathered to pray for the re-opening of the building, a place they still call home.
Henry Dziok, a Mater Dolorosa Parishioner, told 22News, "We've had people from all kinds of ethnic groups coming in for our events, our bingos, our spaghetti nights."
"It's been built in 1901 when Polish ancestors gave up 20% of their salary and dug up foundation. They are not giving up their church, and their ancestors aren't giving up this church either," said Victor Anop.
The Vatican has already upheld the Diocese decision to merge Mater Dolorosa with Holy Cross. So the Springfield Diocese Spokesperson Mark Dupont told 22News it is unlikely that the church will be restored as a full-time house of worship.
The Diocese is waiting for another decision from the Vatican.
They want to know if they can use the building for non-religious purposes.
Mark Dupont, the Diocese spokesperson, told 22News, "I think it will open up a lot of different avenues, and I don't think we have any definitive decision because we do respect the Vatican's process. We are not going to take any foot forward in any direction until we hear from the Vatican."
Dupont said the Diocese is expecting to hear from Vatican City very soon.