Parishioners at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Malaga, New Jersey have taken over the church and are holding a 24/7 vigil to protest the Camden Diocese’ decision to shutter the parish. Church members say they received what they call a “cowardly letter” taped to the doors of the church saying it will be closed because it needs a new boiler system. They charge the Diocese has not allowed members to come forward with money for the repair and is using the boiler problem as a pretext for closing the church.
The move is one of several church takeovers across the nation. The others are largely in protest of parish consolidation as numbers of priests continue to decline, and Catholics move to other areas of the country or stop practicing.