Originally built in 1960, the church has been occupied by a group of about 100 local residents for over ten years, after the Archdiocese of Boston decided to close and sell some 70 churches in the region. It is widely believed that this decision was made to cover the legal costs of a widespread sex-abuse scandal.
"We made this deal with the lower courts that we would vacate the premises within 14 days of the Supreme Court decision," said Jon Rogers, a leader of the activist group called Friends of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. "From the very beginning we have promised to exhaust every avenue of appeal available to us and we have now done that."
Some people have stayed at the church every hour since the Archdiocese attempted to drive the congregation away by changing the locks on the doors under cover of darkness. The church hosted services every Sunday, although a full Catholic mass is not possible without a priest, and the church had been officially deconsecrated.
Residents of Scituate believe that this church belongs to them more than it belongs to the Catholic Church, since they donated the money for it to be built, as well as the purchase price of the highly valuable piece of waterfront land.
Opposed to the Church leaders in Boston, activists appealed to the Vatican court in Rome, but to no avail. The group had numerous cases with lower courts in Boston, and filed their final appeal to the US Supreme Court, which announced that it would not get involved in the case.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini prayer group open their hearts after Pope says to be welcoming and less judgmental. pic.twitter.com/3yWoens2bP— TERRY PIERSON (@Fotogodterry) 9 апреля 2016 г.
Now, the group officially announced it will abandon its watch, following a farewell celebration on May 29.