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Parishes Rally To Save Their Churches

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BRISTOL, Pa. -

Catholics at 16 area parishes are still reeling at the recent decision by the Archdiocese to close churches.

On Thursday, some of the parishes on the chopping block like St. Anne's in Bristol were circling the wagons in a desperate fight to save their church.

It may have been the most important, most well attended services at Bristol's St. Anne's Catholic Church since it opened back in 1906.

Angelo lapolla has been a fixture at St. Anne's every week for the last 99 years.

He along with fellow parishioners were crushed to find out his church is set to close its doors at the end of the month when the parish will merge with nearby St. Mark's.

Nearly a thousand people overflowed St. Anne's to show support, sign petitions and figure out a strategy to save their church.

The same is happening in Delaware County at Notre Dame De Lourdes in Swarthmore. It is also among the 16 parishes on the chopping block.

Parishioners have banned together and hired an attorney. Churches can file an appeal to the archbishop by next week.

"At first it was like a complete shock and disbelief. The decision didn't make sense and didn't want to believe it," said parishioner Kerry Lawler.

With growing attendance, no debt and attached school next door, they can't understand why they were chosen to close.

"I feel we do as much as we can to get them to change their minds, and if they can't we just have to ask god to help us accept it," said parishioner Eileene Donnelly.

A handful of parishes told Fox 29 they plan to appeal the closings. However, since the Archdiocese started closing churches, none of those appeals have succeeded.

If that happens, churches can take their appeals to the Vatican.

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