Residents hoping to save Mater Dolorosa Church

The Springfield Diocese says the structure is a threat to public safety

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Demolition Day could be coming soon for the Mater Dolorosa Church in Holyoke.

Many people said they were hoping to save the century old church, but the Springfield Diocese says the structure is a “real and imminent threat to public safety.”

Around 100 people attended the Holyoke Historical Commission hearing Tuesday night, many hoping to save the Mater Dolorosa Church from demolition.

“Most of the parishioners they don’t know any other church except the Mater Dolorosa. They feel like there is a lot of family tradition and value that is just gonna be destroyed,” said Barbara Kos of Holyoke.

Springfield Diocese spokesman Mark Dupont said the old structure poses a serious risk to public safety. However, the historical commission would have to sign off on the demolition.

“We’re here tonight representing not only ourselves but our Polish ancestors. The thousands of people in Mater Dolorosa cemetery who are looking down tonight at this hearing,” said Vic Anop of Friends of Mater Dolorosa.

The Mater Dolorosa Preservation Society wants to buy the church, and make repairs to bring it back up to code.

“The Diocese have responded to us and we are now in negotiations for the purchase of the church. For cultural, and historical and Polish heritage,” said John Fydenkevez of the Mater Dolorosa Church Preservation Society.

The historical commission said public comment will likely continue at next week’s meeting. Then, they’ll have 14 days to decide whether to approve the demolition.