The doors of St. Mary's Church opened for a special Mass Wednesday. It celebrated the feast of the assumption. This was the first time in five years a service was held in the Jamesville church since it closed. Many people filed the pews. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with former parishioners about coming back after so many years.
JAMESVILLE, N.Y. -- It's a sight that hasn't been seen in five years. People filing into St. Mary's Church in Jamesville. In 2007, the Syracuse Diocese merged the Parish with Holy Cross Parish in DeWitt, but Wednesday, the doors were reopened.
Jamesville resident Jack McCray said, "The church is a little country church, whenever you enter it, you feel that this is home. It's always felt like home."
It was standing room only to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. It's the day Mary was accepted, body and soul into heaven. The Vatican upheld the decision to merge the parishes but considers the building a sacred place.
Syracuse Diocese Communications Director Danielle Cummings said, "Bishop Cunningham issued a statement in Janaury of this year, indicating that occasionally services can be held in the church building itself: masses, a wedding, a funeral et cetera."
Many of the people living in this area attended St. Mary's Parish for most of their lives and had important life events happen here. They're holding out hope to have regular service again.
"All our kids were baptized here and made their first communion here," said Henry Streiff said.
Alice Streiff said, "I'm so glad the church is open again. I look forward to the Sunday masses. That's what we really need a weekly worship service."
In a statement given to us from some of the parishioners they said they're grateful for Wednesday's special mass and dedication of the Blessed Virgin Mary statue on its 25 anniversary.
The statement went on to say quote, "We would like to thank our Bishop for working with St. Mary's Jamesville. We look forward to regularly scheduled masses in the near future. Churches in the Cleveland and Springfield Diocese have received similar Vatican decrees as St. Mary's and are now open with regularly scheduled masses."
According to the Diocese that will not be the case and instead it will be open for special events but not on a weekly basis.
Cummings said, "The church building is still a church building, but St. Mary's Parish is closed and that is final, yes."
The church was only open for about an hour Wednesday. The diocese doesn't have any special services scheduled in the near future.