Diocese:?Another parish will decide future of Mater Dolorosa

Teresa Osborne, chancellor of the Diocese of Scranton, issued a news release on Thursday to address the future use of Mater Dolorosa Church, 635 Hepburn St.

Mayor Gabriel Campana and Williamsport police Chief Gregory Foresman spoke at a news conference on Wednesday, where they expressed dismay that the county might consider putting in a day-reporting center for nonviolent criminals at the church, which closed in July 2012.

Osborne’s statement said that after the church was closed, “the Diocese of Scranton respected and participated in an appeal process that resulted in the diocese being informed by the Congregation for the Clergy, (in) Vatican City, that all requests for hierarchical recourse against the closure of Mater Dolorosa Church were denied.”

The statement continues to say that the decision “allows the St. Joseph the Worker Parish – its priests and its people – to explore and determine the future use of its parish properties, including the Mater Dolorosa property.”

The parish formed an exploratory committee in February to look at potential uses for the site.

Father Brian van Fossen, of St. Joseph the Worker, said that anyone with an idea of how to best use Mater Dolorosa will be given a listening ear.

“We’re open to ideas and nothing’s been decided – we’re still open for a cup of coffee,” van Fossen said. “Sometime in August, we’ll have an open house where we’ll show people the ideas that have been proposed to us, and see what people think.”