O’Malley, who had promised not to sell the buildings until the appeals to Rome were exhausted, is now asking vigil protesters to accept that it is finally time to move on.
“He would ask the faithful to respect his decision, and in areas where there are vigils that there would be a peaceful conclusion,” said the Very Rev. Arthur M. Coyle, the cardinal’s liaison on the long process to prepare the churches for sale.
The protesters, who had anticipated the move by the cardinal, promised today to continue their fight.
“Each of the six parish groups is ready to take this issue all the way to the Vatican’s highest court,” said Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes, a lay Catholic group that has contested church closings in the archdiocese.
In addition to St. Frances, the churches affected by the cardinal’s decree, effective Monday, are St. James the Great, in Wellesley; St. Jeanne D’Arc, in Lowell; Star of the Sea, in Quincy; Our Lady of Lourdes, in Revere; and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in East Boston.