By Denise Lavoie and Jay Lindsay, Associated Press

CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) – The Vatican has ruled that three western Massachusetts churches closed by the Springfield Diocese should remain open, including one that parishioners have occupied for two years.

Parishioners learned Tuesday that the Vatican ruled that Bishop Timothy McDonnell had not justified closing down one church in Adams and two in Chicopee, meaning they remain open for worship. It’s not clear yet to what extent they could be used.

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The Vatican recently made similar rulings in the Allentown Diocese in Pennsylvania.

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The Springfield Diocese may appeal to the Vatican’s high court. A diocesan spokesman says the diocese had not seen the Vatican documents and he could not comment.

Parishioners have occupied the Adams church, St. Stanislaus Kostka, since December 2008.

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