WORCESTER – The Diocese of Worcester and Monsignor Stephen Pedone received two letters recently regarding the issues surrounding their plan to tear down Mount Carmel Church.
The first, and unquestionably most important, came from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
“The Attorney General’s office has sent a letter to the Diocese and the Monsignor, but unfortunately I can’t tell any more than that because I haven’t seen the letter,” Anthony Petrone, a member of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society, said recently. “I’m trying to find out the content of the letter, but I haven’t heard anything yet.”
Petrone said it appears very few people, if any, have seen the letter or a copy of the letter.
“Even the City Councilor who told me that the letter had been sent hasn’t seen it or been told about what’s in it,” Petrone said.
Petrone said he hopes the letter is the AG’s office telling the Diocese and Pedone that it is launching a full investigation into the Mount Carmel Church matter.
The second letter the Diocese received lately came from Robert White, the attorney representing the Mount Carmel Preservation Society.
White’s letter, which was sent to City Manager Ed Augustus, the Attorney General and the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAM), as well as other state and local leaders, was official notice of the deed restriction uncovered recently by White.
The restriction, written into the original 1947 deed for the parcel at the time of the sale of the property by the state to the Diocese – for $1 – does not allow the church to use the property for any purposes that are not religious, recreational or educational. It also contends that if the parcel is not being used for any of these purposes, it has to be returned to the Commonwealth.
“If they’re not using it as a church, or for educational or recreational reasons, it goes back to the state,” said Mauro DePasquale, president of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society, at the news conference the preservation society held on the steps of the church earlier this month.
At a recent City Council meeting Augustus confirmed that the city had received White’s letter. He said he forwarded it to the city’s legal department which, Augustus said, is preparing a response.
In addition to announcing that that the deed restriction had been uncovered, DePasquale urged at his May 13 news conference that state and city leaders find a way to halt the execution of the demolition permit by the Diocese because, DePasquale believes, it would be in violation of the deed.