Polish diplomat calling for preservation of Mater Dolorosa Church

Preservation society wants to save building; Diocese says it's unsafe

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A high-ranking Polish diplomat is expressing his support for an effort to preserve the Mater Dolorosa Church in Holyoke. Consul General Maciej Golubiewski wrote a letter to Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski after meeting with members of the Mater Dolorosa Church Preservation Society.

The group is trying to save the Lyman Street church, which was built by Polish immigrants and served the Polish-American community for generations. Mater Dolorosa closed in 2011 when the parish was merged with Holy Cross Church on Sycamore Street to form the new Our Lady of the Cross parish. The Diocese of Springfield had attempted to have the building demolished, citing safety concerns- particularly with respect to the building’s steeple. The Holyoke Historical Commission received a six-month postponement of the demolition back in March.

Golubiewski wrote to Rozanski that he believes Mater Dolorosa is features “one of the most glorious displays of European art and architecture in the United States,” and that the building ought to be preserved. He said that the Society has offered to gather the money needed to preserve the church.

“The Society has assured me that in their efforts to preserve the Church, it will be able to demonstrate how Polish people contributed to the City of Holyoke, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the United States of America. More important, Mater Dolorosa Church epitomizes the dedication of each member of the church to our Roman Catholic faith,” Golubiewski wrote.

Mark Dupont, spokesperson for the Diocese of Springfield, said that the Bishop received a “very cordial” letter from the Consul General, but noted that it was “absent any offer to lend financial assistance to any effort to preserve the church.”

Society President John Fydenkevez says that their group is in contact with representatives from the Diocese on their effort to acquire the church.

According to a news release sent to 22News by the Society, they will provide an update on their efforts on May 25.

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