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Vatican's high court upholds closure of historic Portuguese parish in New Bedford


NEW BEDORD, Massachusetts — The Vatican's highest court has upheld the closing of a New Bedford church that's said to be the home of the oldest Roman Catholic Portuguese parish in North America.

The Standard-Times ( ) reports that the Apostolic Signatura rejected the final appeal of the parishioners to keep St. John the Baptist Church open.

The church celebrated its last Mass in November 2012 after parishioners appealed to Fall River Bishop Coleman based on his initial March 2012 decision to close the parish and merge it with Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Coleman said at the time that the parish was more than $200,000 in debt, attendance was dropping and the building required $1.5 million in repairs.

Some city residents have proposed locating a Portuguese cultural center in the former church.

Information from: The (New Bedford, Massachusetts) Standard-Times,

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