Parishioners get their church back in NJ

MALAGA, N.J. - September 14, 2011

A faulty boiler expedited the closure last November.

Refusing to the accept the demise of the nearly 90-year-old church, parishioners have taken turns holding vigil here for the last 9 months and now at least some of their prayers have been answered.

Bishop Joseph Galante has decided to reopen St. Mary's Malaga for weddings, funerals and other liturgical services although not weekly masses.

Father Allain Caparas is pastor of the newly formed Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish and spoke to the bishop.

"If there's some way we can reach out to these individuals and make the church available for them, so I mentioned that to him, and he was very receptive to that," Caparas said.

For those who have kept the faith and battled against the closure for three years, the bishop's decree brings some good news.

"By saying that the church is now open, it achieves a lot of the goals of the vigil, we're still not where we want to be, we would like to have at least a weekly mass, but we're very happy that this is a positive step forward," parishioner Leah Vassallo said.

Even the problem with the boiler has been addressed.

Father Caparas plans to meet with the St. Mary faithful next Monday to talk about the little church's future in the merged parish. He says he also must make sure the building is inspected and meets all township codes

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