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Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley recently announced his acceptance of two sets of recommendations by the Meade-Eisner Reconfiguration Review Committee. With the presentation of the most recent set of recommendations on July 5, the committee said it had completed its work of evaluating the reconfiguration process.
Following the recommendations of the committee, the archbishop agreed to rescind the closing of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Salem and establish Star of the Sea Church in Quincy, closed on Oct. 24 last year, as a chapel for Sacred Heart Parish in Quincy, according to separate statements. Father John O’Brien, pastor at Sacred Heart, will celebrate Sunday Masses, starting July 17.
In Salem a new pastor will be appointed at St. Thomas and work with Father Albert Sylvia, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Peabody, and the communities at both parishes “over the course of the next few years in order to then make a recommendation to provide for the pastoral care of the two parishes’ communities through one parish,” the statement said.
The Reconfiguration Review Committee, headed by Peter Meade and Sister Janet Eisner, SND will continue working with St. Jeremiah Church in Framingham, which closed on May 13 of this year, according to a statement. Some parishioners of the former parish have occupied the building since May 6.
"By mutual agreement the time for the archbishop to respond to their local appeal has been extended by 30 days," the release said.
Four other parishes remain in vigil, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Boston, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Scituate, St. James the Great in Wellesley and St. Therese in Everett, and the archdiocese has not announced any plans in regard to these former parishes.
The consultation with St. Jeremiah’s is the last of the review committee’s work, the statement added.
"I am most grateful for the time and effort expended by Peter Meade, Sister Janet Eisner and all the women and men of this committee," Archbishop O'Malley said in the statement. "Their commitment to our faith and the love of the Church was evidenced in their countless hours of meetings and site visits, research and extensive deliberations."
"The key is that the archbishop is clearly moving toward wrapping this whole process up. We still have some property to sell, we still have a couple of churches to close, we've got some work to do, but this is a big piece of the process that we're trying to wrap up," Terrence C. Donilon said in reference to the completion of the committee's work. "They did remarkable work."
"People wanted the archbishop to listen to their needs and concerns, and he did. He demonstrated openness and willingness to try to attend to those needs," Donilon added.
The eight-person external review committee, appointed by Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley in October of last year, has surveyed the process of reconfiguration and suggested changes over the last 10 months. The committee has reversed decisions on Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Plymouth, St. Albert the Great in Weymouth, St. Mary of the Angels in Roxbury, St. James in Stoughton, St. Florence in Wakefield and St. Isidore in Stow. The committee has also revised decisions at St. Anselm in Sudbury and Infant Jesus-St. Lawrence in Brookline and prompted changes to reconfiguration in Newton and Charlestown. The committee also upheld many of the archdioceses’ original decisions in reconfiguration.