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Jamesville: St. Mary parishioners keep seven-month vigil alive

Each night, a rosary service is held at 7 p.m. On Christmas Eve, a special service took place with communion, a pageant and a half-hour of instrumental and vocal music played and sung by people from the parish.

"It was amazing," DiCosimo said, describing the full church and feel of the night.

Some outsiders may wonder how these ceremonies can be done without a priest.

"They're in there praying. They are prayer services," Yeazel said. "You don't need to have a priest to hold the services."

The same is true in the handing out of the Eucharist, which is consecrated bread believed to be the body of Christ. The hosts were consecrated at an earlier Mass and given to the parish people from another church.

Yeazel said while the appeal is going on, he is allowing the people to pray in the church.

"There's two ways of doing this," he said. "One is to just say you have to leave. The other is to allow them, during this appeal, to pray in that church. And I've chosen that one."

He added that though he doesn't know when the appeal will be answered, the services can't go on indefinitely.

If the Vatican rejects the appeal, DiCosimo said they would take the second step, which is to appeal again but at the next level. The submission must take place within 10 days of the Vatican's response. DiCosimo said research shows parishes reopened in the United States have actually had better luck at the second level.

Faith through adversity

Those opposed to Moynihan's final decision about closing the church question his handling of Canon Law, or church law, in the restructuring process. DiCosimo said the longer they battle with the current outcome, the more they understand the red tape they are up against.

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