HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has announced he and Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski have agreed to negotiate a possible transfer of the Mater Dolorosa Church to another entity.
“Such an agreement would allow another entity to take on the responsibility of preserving the building and addressing the public safety concerns of the Diocese,” Morse said in a statement sent to 22News.
A hearing scheduled for Monday night in regard to making the former Mater Dolorosa Church in Holyoke a single building historic district has been canceled in light of the announcement.
In a statement sent to 22News, Rozanski said the diocese has been open to such discussion and welcomes the opportunity, but their concerns are still there.
“As a sign of good faith we will temporarily put on hold our plans to remove the church steeple,” Rozanski said. “However as I have explained to all involved, our concerns over safety remain and so time is of the essence.”
There has been conflict between the church’s former parishioners and the Springfield Catholic Diocese for some time now. Parishioners want the church preserved, while the Diocese wants it demolished due to structural safety concerns.
“I thank the Bishop for working with the city to find a solution that will benefit everyone involved, and ultimately benefit our city and our region,” Morse said.
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The mayor’s full statement is below:
The bishop’s full statement is below:
As was announced earlier today by Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, the diocese has agreed to enter into discussions with the city over the possible acquisition of the former Mater Dolorosa Church and Friary.
Our initial conversations were cordial and indicate there is an opportunity here which should be explored.
The diocese has always been open to such discussions and as such I welcome this opportunity.
As a sign of good faith we will temporarily put on hold our plans to remove the church steeple. However as I have explained to all involved, our concerns over safety remain and so time is of the essence.