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Vigil ends at former Wellesley parish

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WELLESLEY -- Former parishioners occupying St. James the Great in Wellesley suspended their seven-year vigil July 15 at the request of the Vatican.

According to a spokesperson for the vigil, the Vatican requested a conclusion to the vigil while it reviews the final appeal to the Apostolic Signatura regarding the Archdiocese of Boston's sale of the property to the Town of Wellesley.

The vigil at the former parish began when it closed during the 2004 Parish Reconfiguration process.

"Our hope is that this is one step in a process toward concluding the protest," archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon said.

Previously, the archdiocese and the town agreed to the price of $3.8 million for the 8-acre property. Finalization of the sale is pending the conclusion of the appeals process.

The town has said it plans to tear down the building and use the property for recreational facility that will include a swimming pool, skating rink, and playing field.

The Vatican denied prior appeals to reopen the parish according to Donilon.

The Vatican ruling on the current appeal will only determine if the property can be "relegated to profane but not sordid use." Relegation allows the church building to be sold for secular purposes but not for "sordid use," one that is immoral or offensive to Catholics.

With the end of the vigil at St. James, the archdiocese now has only two former parishes remaining in vigil.

Associated Press materials contributed to this report.

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