'It's heartbreaking.' Longtime parishioners of Yonkers church stunned at possible closure after 175 years
St. Mary's just celebrated 175 years on Dec. 9 with a special appearance by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Now, a little over a month later, longtime parishioners are stunned by the possible closure of what they say is a historic landmark.
"It's heartbreaking to most of our community," said parishioner Isidoro Acevedo, who has been part of the church for more than 30 years. "There are no words to express the pain that we feel."
The archdiocese says it will cost $10 million for church repairs, and while discussions about the future have taken place, no decision has been made. News 12 spoke with long-time parishioners, the director of the church and the head of the Arab congregation - each said the church's closure is a certainty.
"It's one of the first churches in this country to be given the name of Immaculate Conception," said lifelong parishioner Domini Pisculli. Her family has been coming to the church for three generations.
"The idea they're going to shut it down without giving us a chance, It's upsetting," she said.
The church also holds services in Arabic for the city's large Arab Catholic community.
"We have this feeling like this is our home, the church is our home," said Father Feris Hattar
"They want to join us with St. Peter's. St Peter's is a wonderful church but it's not St. Mary's," explained Acevedo.
Parishioners tell News 12 all they want is a chance to come up with the money.
"We want to help the archdiocese, we want to help them if it is something financial let us figure it out," said Pisculli.
A town hall meeting will take place at the church Wednesday evening, and a representative from the archdiocese will be there.