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BOSTON (AP) -- Parishioners of a long-closed Catholic church south of Boston have lost their appeal of a ruling ordering them to end their 11-year, 24/7 vigil inside the building.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed a judge's ruling Oct. 13 that parishioners at St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate are trespassing on property owned by the Archdiocese of Boston.
The archdiocese shuttered the church in 2004 as part of a reorganization effort, and the parishioners have occupied it since. In March, the archdiocese sued to evict them.
The Appeals Court acknowledged the parishioners' "heartfelt beliefs" that they are entitled to remain in the church.
But the court agreed with the lower court judge's conclusion that they are trespassing.
In a statement, the archdiocese asked the Friends of St. Frances, a nonprofit organization set up to save the parish, "to respect that decision and conclude the vigil. The parishes of the Archdiocese welcome and invite those involved with the vigil to participate and join in the fullness of parish life."
Members of the Friends of St. Frances said they plan to review legal options with their attorney.