Catholics in Miami await word on closure of 13 churches

Thousands of South Florida Catholics are anxiously awaiting a final decision on the fate of 13 churches under consideration for closure as they turn to prayer and protests in hopes of a miracle.

On Saturday, members of a handful of those churches gathered at the Torch of Friendship in downtown Miami for a two-hour candlelight vigil.

"We're asking God not to take the away the light that shines on these churches," said Carolyn Fetscher of Catholic Leaders for Christ, an informal group that organized the event that included prayers and hymns.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said that the closure list, first announced in May, will be finalized in "early August" but there's no specific date. Closing churches will operate through the end of September.

The Archdiocese of Miami has targeted the churches to save money in a recession that has caused the institution to lose tens of millions of dollars in investments while subsidizing struggling parishes.

It has already closed seven Catholic schools this year and is making additional cuts.


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