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Auburn Church Closing, Efforts Underway to Preserve Site

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One Auburn church is closing its doors.

Dr. Karen Odrzywolski is the President of the Cluster Parish Council for Holy Family, Sacred Heart, St. Alphonsus, and St. Ann’s Catholic Churches. She told Finger Lakes News Radio that officials from the Diocese of Rochester decided that, due to structural issues making it unsafe to walk in or around the church, Holy Family Church will be closed.

Example of degradation. (Ed Vivenzio, Finger Lakes News Radio)

The Parish Council and Family Finance Council for the 85 North Street church were informed of the decision on Thursday. Odrzywolski added that the decision was not made by the parish council and its members were vocal in their support for keeping the church open.

She also stated that weekly attendance had no bearing on the decision as the church recently added an additional mass due to an increase in those attending services.

City officials survey the church. (Ed Vivenzio, Finger Lakes News Radio)

The last masses will be held at Holy Family on Sunday for Father’s Day. After Sunday, Holy Family Parishioners will be welcome to attend services at any of the other Catholic churches in the city.

For questions about mass cards, tabernacle candles, or any concerns, contact the parish office at 215-252-7271.

A portion of the sidewalk has been roped off due to safety concerns. (Ed Vivenzio, Finger Lakes News Radio)

While the news of the church’s closure is incredibly recent, efforts are underway to preserve the building for future religious use.

Parishioners have formed the Holy Family Organization to Preserve and Endure. (HOPE). They are appealing the decision and are working under the direction of an attorney who Odryzywolski claims has been able to save dozens of churches from closure.

“This organization seeks to maintain Holy Family as a sacred institution where there will be opportunities for prayer and occasional worship,” said Odrzywolski

While an attorney is involved, the group is hopeful that discussions with the diocese will see both sides coming to an understanding of how to preserve the space for Catholic use without the need for legal action.

“We plan to work constructively with the diocese,” continued Odrzywolski.

Holy Family was founded in 1834.

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