‘We are willing to fight’: St. Stephen’s Church files appeal to stay open

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If their appeal is denied, St. Stephen's Church in Youngstown could close by July of next year

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been a little over a week since parishioners at Youngstown’s St. Stephen of Hungary Church found out it was on a list of those that will close. There was a meeting Monday night to try to find a way to keep it open.

The meeting was with parish council members, who were looking at their options on how to fight the diocese over the proposed closing.

Parishioners decided to file an appeal of the bishop’s decision to close St. Stephen’s.

We were not allowed in the meetings but we talked to several parishioners afterward. They all seemed unified.

Some of them have been through church closures in the Valley before.

“Well, having been through a closure, it is disheartening,” Sandra Cika said. “I have been through this before with St. Cashmere’s but I feel that my faith is still strong. I feel that a lot of people have hung onto their faith but I do think it is worth trying. It is definitely a fight worth fighting.”

“We are a vibrant parish,” Damien Tarentino said. “We care about each other, we care about the people, we do a lot of things to keep everything active. So we are willing to fight.”

The appeal will be filed with the diocese soon. It could ultimately end up with the Vatican.

If it is denied, St. Stephen’s Church would be looking at closing by July of next year.

There is a sign outside of the Holy Apostles Parish that reads, “Please pray for us, most importantly, pray WITH us.”

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