Closing of St. Mary's in Jamesville effects residents

Recent weeks have brought to light the many parish closings that the Syracuse Catholic Diocese plans to execute by end of year. St. Mary's of Jamesville -- more than a century old -- is on the finishing list and will close in less than two months.

Reverend J. Robert Yeazel, pastor of both St. Mary's and Holy Cross of DeWitt, said this shouldn't come as a surprise to its parishioners. Masses were reduced from three per weekend to two, and now just one at 5:15 p.m. on Saturdays until July 1.

Yeazel came on board as pastor of Holy Cross in 2000, then of St. Mary's in October 2006, when the church became an outreach of Holy Cross, which means it was no longer recognized as an independent parish.

"I'm absolutely supportive of the decision," Yeazel said. "It had to be made across the diocese."

Some parishioners, however, are not quite as enthusiastic about Bishop Moynihan's conclusion pertaining to their church, but understand it has to be done in response to changing times.

John and Lois Mac Donough have been members of St. Mary's Church for 30 years. Lois was part of "Mission Possible" -- a group of people who have been trying to keep the church alive for many months -- and who still meet every Monday even though the cuts have been made.

Lois said she is sad to see it close but realizes it's a sign of the times.

"They've tried to make the transition as painless as possible," Lois said of Yeazel and Reverend John Manno, also from the two parishes.

However, pain is a feeling very much in the forefront of those within families who are second and third generation church members.

"There are some people who are totally distraught about it," she said. "I feel very sorry for the people of St. Mary's. Maybe they can reconcile that this has to be."

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