Parish appeals to Pope Francis to save building

March 31, 2013 3:33:56 PM PDT
Parishioners of an historic South Side church are appealing to Pope Francis to save the 133-year-old structure which is in the first stages of demolition.

Sunday members of St. James Parish prayed outside the condemned building.

It's been shut down for four years and worshippers have been praying in the parish hall. They say the archdiocese hasn't responded to their appeals.

So now they're turning to Rome, tweeting Pope Francis directly and signing a petition.

The archdiocese says it would cost $12 million to restore the crumbling structure. Parishioners say it would really cost less than $7 million to bring it up to code.

The service we provide, the outreach that we provide here in the Bronzeville neighborhood is critical to the success of this neighborhood," said parishioner Eileen Quigley.

"I hope the Pope Francis hears our prayers, I hope that Cardinal George hears our prayers," said parishioner Sherri Seyfried_PARISHIONER.

The archdiocese says it will build a new church a block away from the old one. Parishioners say that is not acceptable.