Diocese appealing to the state to demolish the Mater Dolorosa Church

The Diocese Spokesman said the building is a safety hazard

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Diocese of Springfield is appealing to the state to demolish the Mater Dolorosa Church sooner rather than later. The move comes after the Holyoke Building Department denied the Diocese’s request for an emergency demolition.

Diocese Spokesman Mark Dupont said the building is a safety hazard, and they even filed permits to fence off the area around the church, but those were denied.

John Avila, a Holyoke contractor, said, “It become an issue. Once you put a fence around it, it becomes an issue. It draws a tremendous amount of attention, people ask questions, people don’t want to give answers.”

Holyoke Building Inspector Damian Cote said the fence permits were denied because they weren’t properly filed or didn’t meet the regulations. He said he told the Diocese if they fixed the issues and refiled, they could get a fence up, but they never resubmitted.

Also on Tuesday, the Holyoke City Council Public Safety Committee addressed health concerns at the church, like mold and bird feces. They called on Dupont to speak, but he denied the request.

City Council President Kevin Jourdain told 22News, “It’s hard to say exactly what the Diocese is telling is true and not true. They refused to come to the meeting, and they could have explained. I think while the Council has a limited jurisdiction, most of it is under the Board of Health and the Building Department. I think it would have been a good opportunity.”

The Holyoke Historical Commission could grant a 6 month hold on demolishing the church. We’ll let you know when that decision is made.