The Diocese of Youngstown received a formal decree from the Vatican Congregation of Clergy concerning Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville, which was closed by the diocese, but the decree does not order the reopening of the church.
The Vatican decree states that the reasons given by Bishop George V. Murry for the closure of Immaculate Conception Church are not “sufficient and grave” as required by Canon Law.
The Vatican decree did not direct Bishop Murry to reopen Immaculate Conception and said the bishop may appeal this ruling to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
The bishop plans to appeal.
During the appeal process, Immaculate Conception will remain closed.
The other decree from the Vatican upholds the merger of St. Aloysius Church in East Liverpool and Immaculate Conception into the new parish of Holy Trinity.
The churches are in the Columbiana Deanery.
In a Vindicator story on May 11, 2011, the Rev. Nicholas Shori, director of the Parish Implementation Plan, said transition teams of church leaders studied the demographics and other factors.
Immaculate Conception was not financially solvent. Parishioners protested the closing and claimed the church was solvent.
The transition team of another church in the deanery, St. Ann, asked to be “suppressed” and it closed in December 2011.
The Youngstown Diocese downsized from 113 parishes to 87 in the reconfiguration plan announced by Bishop Murry on May 28, 2010.