Weymouth parishioners hold sit-in prayer vigil

WEYMOUTH — Parishioners at St. Albert the Great, one 82 parishes scheduled to be closed by the Archdiocese of Boston, began a sit-in prayer vigil, which they vowed to continue indefinitely if Church leaders don’t reverse that decision.

The protesters, who plan to rotate shifts, said they have a sign-up sheet for volunteers full of signatures.

Parishioners at St. Albert sued the archdiocese on Aug. 27, claiming the parish owns the property, not the archdiocese.

"We'll let things settle down," said Father Christopher J. Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese which had planned to change the locks of St. Albert at noon on Sept. 1. "Because of the fact people are saying they're sitting in, and it looks like they're looking for a confrontation, we are going to do everything we can to avoid it."

However he said that as of noon on Sept. 1, “the parish is no longer a parish.”

"Normally, representatives of the Archdiocese of Boston would visit the former parish property today and secure the buildings. This will not take place as scheduled," said Father Coyne in a statement released on Sept. 1. "Our hope is that with patience, prayer and charity this situation can be resolved as calmly and carefully as possible."

The archdiocese said Weymouth no longer can support five churches. St. Albert, the smallest of the five, was chosen for closure by its cluster partly because it has no school.