Bittersweet Good Friday for church set to close

With heavy hearts, parishioners of a Mount Vernon church packed pews for Good Friday services months before their church is scheduled to close.

At Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the parishioners watched a powerful re-enactment of the day that Jesus was crucified.

"These people -- what they do -- deserve a lot of credit," said parishioner Irene Tangredi. "I have never seen anything like it."

Tangredi and the hundreds of other parishioners likely won't see the performance again, at least not at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In a cost-cutting move, the New York Archdiocese announced in September that it is closing the church, which is more than 100 years old. Its parish will be consolidated with nearby Saint Mary's.

Elizabeth Vaquero, whose family has attended Mount Carmel for five years, is devastated. "My kids have been baptized here. I got married here," she said. "I've been to St. Mary's. I've been to some activities over there, but it's not like home. This is home for us," she said, referring to Mount Carmel.

More than 2,000 parishioners signed a petition last year, urging Cardinal Timothy Dolan to save their church, but the petition was unsuccessful.

"It's costing the Catholic Church a lot of money to keep these churches open," says parishioner Dorothy Satriale. "So, I do feel for parishioners that are losing their parishes, but ... the church is doing the right thing."

Still, Mount Carmel parishioners are hoping for a miracle that will stop their church from closing its doors permanently in August.

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