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Diocese delays decision on fate of Cathedral

Date: 12/19/2014

SPRINGFIELD – After hundreds of people from around the region gathered on the steps of City Hall to support the rebuilding of Cathedral High School on Dec. 16, the spokesman for the diocese confirmed the deadline to make a decision on the school’s future would not be met.

Mark Dupont sent the following statement after the event: “Today’s rally showed tremendous support for Cathedral High School, something to be commended. The diocese shares that admiration for this school and what it continues to achieve in the academic and faith formation of our young people. And because of the important role this school has played in the life of our faith community, the diocese has undertaken a process to honestly address the challenges of sustainability which confront it. The process outlined and implemented by Bishop Mitchell Rozanski in early November is now nearing the completion of its first phase. There will be a review of the findings from both the on-line surveys and facilitated groups before the problem-solving sessions begin in January. While we had hoped to complete both phases by December, there was understandably reluctance from those selected for the second process to give up two days during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Ultimately, the goal is to arrive at the best decision not the fastest. Bishop asks for the continued prayers of the entire community.”

Dupont told Reminder Publications that what has slowed the process is the number of stakeholding groups that have not yet decided which of their members should represent them in the next phase of the decision making procedure.

Two of the stakeholders did meet with Rozanski on Dec. 16: Congressman Richard Neal and Mayor Domenic Sarno. They left the rally early to meet a 4 p.m. interview.

Before they left Neal said, “The idea of Springfield without Cathedral in unimaginable.”

He added, “I don’t why the review process is taking place or so long.”

Neal said he and other Cathedral supporters have “an unyielding position to rebuild that high school on Surrey Road.”

The number of participants at the rally grew as it went on with students and others joining it. Wearing purple – the school’s color – and holding signs that read “Save Cathedral” and “Yes We Can” the large crowd braved the cold.

Emma Villier, a sophomore at the school, said Cathedral is “so much more than just a building” and rebuilding the school “preserves a way of life.”

Alfredo DiLascia, the chair of the Committee for Cathedral Action, said he hopes the bishop can “see through all of the negative vision that surrounds him” on the subject of rebuilding the school.

DiLascia noted there are 25,000 Cathedral alumni living in Western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. He added the building, which was destroyed in the June 1, 2011 tornado, received $62.1 million in insurance funds and $38.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He called for “no more studies, no more small meetings.”

“My God, it’s been three and one-half years,” DiLascia said.