Wednesday, the 7th of March 2012, welcomed news came to the Catholics of the Cleveland diocese. The details have not become, yet, public. The Roman curia, in the forum of the Congregation for the Clergy has overruled Cleveland's bishop, Richard Lennon, on 13 parish closures. Some fear that these may only be procedural details to be corrected. Lennon is free to appeal to the Apostolic Signatura (a higher curial court); even worse, he may try further suppressions, or refuse to obey Rome.
Parishioners, and friends far outside the diocese are happy, and optimistic; but at this time, we are not sure of the 13, there was a list of 14 (that the chancery only released a few weeks ago). One happy parish is St. Casimir-in-exile. They have had a Sunday street prayer vigil since their eviction on 8 November 2009. They had their first evening prayer vigil to-night under a very near full moon. Some four dozen Casimiri came, as did the local daily, and a television crew.
They prayed and sang as they always have. One of two prayer leaders, Joseph Feckanin, was especially spirited and reveled in telling the history of the last two and an half years, and Saint Casimir's prominent place in prayerful resistance to a despotic bishop. The other parishes that held vigils were mentioned, as was the last three existing Polish parishes that have not been de-polonised, or suppressed.
The bigger story is that Rome has chastised an over reaching American bishop in a manner so far overwhelmingly unique. Recently Rome has upheld the rights of a few parishes (and the laity) over their ordinary [administrative bishop], but to uphold virtually an entire slate of appeals is new. Sadly, several other parishes could, should, and would have been saved IF they were not discouraged, threatened, and sabotaged: Saint Lawrence Cleveland, Holy Trinity Lorain, Sacred Heart Akron, Sacred Heart Cleveland, Saint Cecilia Cleveland, Saint Margaret of Hungary and several others. Many parishioners were bamboozled, or steam rolled, or fell in despair.