End of a Vigil

June 22, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Veronica Tutunjian of Scituate embraces Nancy Allen after receiving communion during the final mass at St. Frances on Sunday, May 29, 2016. Wicked Local Staff Photo/ Robin Chan Mary Laflamme of Vernon, CT sits by herself in the pews of the church that her father, James Clifford, helped build and was one of the strongest supporters of the vigil. James Clifford was the last person buried from St. Frances. Wicked Local Staff Photo/ Robin Chan St. Frances Cabrini is a Catholic church in Scituate that was earmarked to close in 2004 by the Archdiocese of Boston. The parishioners there were upset by this economic decision by the Church and formed a vigilant community that occupied the church 24/7 since October 26, 2004 preventing the Archdiocese from selling the property. I have covered their vigil off and on for the past 11 years and have even stayed overnight once for a story. Many of the parishioners have forged strong relationships with each other that have strengthened their faith community through this experience. 

After 11+ years, the parishioners of St. Frances had exhausted every legal avenue and the Archdiocese set a deadline for them to leave the church. The parishioners celebrated their last mass on May 29, 2016 at their beloved church with a mixture of sadness and anger at how they have been treated by the Archdiocese.

For me, the first picture captured the profound emotion that some of the parishioners had during the last mass. Veronica was returning to her pew after receiving communion and had spotted an old friend sitting in the church. She was moved to embrace her two friends. The second photo gives the sense that it was difficult for some parishioners to let go of the church that they had fought for so long for. This parishioner's father was the last funeral service to be held at the North Scituate church. 

They will continue to worship together and form an American Catholic group in Scituate.  A parishioner photographs the imprint that they and the church had on each other while on vigil. Wicked Local Staff Photo/ Robin Chan


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