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Parishioners could appeal to Vatican over church closure

Church of St Michael and All Angels, Conwy (N Chadwick/

Parishioners of a church in Conwy, north Wales, are seeking to take their fight against its closure to the Vatican.

The last Mass at 100-year-old St Michael’s was celebrated on Sunday. Bishop Peter Brignall of Wrexham announced its closure just before Christmas.

Parishioners have appealed to the bishop and, if that fails, may take the case to the Congregation for Clergy and ultimately the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court.

Spokeswoman Anne McCaffrey told the BBC that parishioners were heartbroken. She said that bringing the appeal to the Vatican would require hiring a senior canon lawyer.

“There are only 14 of these qualified to present an appeal at this level, and as you can imagine none of this is easy, nor is it cheap,” she said.

“To close a church building there needs to be grave cause, a technical term in church law.

St Michael’s is structurally sound, financially viable with a strong community.”

Parishioners gathered for a candlelit vigil outside the church on Sunday night. It is one of 20 that Bishop Brignall has said will have to close because of a shortage of priests.