By Ron Sanders, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – The Archdiocese of Boston said Thursday it would consider public comment while deciding whether to sell seven churches in East Boston, Everett, Lowell, Quincy, Revere, Scituate and Wellesley that were ordered closed years ago.

“Take a look at this church. Can anyone say this church should not remain open?” asked Paul Hughes, an attorney. He is among parishioners who’ve maintained a vigil to save St. James the Great in Wellesley for six and a half years despite the decision by the Archdiocese of Boston to close it. Similar vigils have been maintained at three other churches.

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WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders reports.

Hughes sees the letter issued by Cardinal Sean O’Malley asking “former parishioners” and others for their views on future use of the closed churches from here to Lowell to Scituate as an opening. And he’s encouraged that the Vatican upheld appeals by parishioners of closed churches in the Springfield diocese.

“We believe the Red Sea is opening up for us. We think that if there’s any objective review of the qualities of our church and our parishioners, we will continue to have faith that St. James will remain open and reopen as a church,” said Hughes.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

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Rev. Richard Erikson, vicar general of the archdiocese, sounds notes of caution but does leave a door open despite the cardinal’s decision that the parishes be closed and merged which was affirmed by the Vatican in December.

“There is no hope that these parishes will be reestablished but the cardinal is beginning a process of consultation about the use of the buildings…There’s hope that the buildings will be used for worship,” he said.

Hughes said protesting parishioners have retained the same advocate at the Vatican the Springfield parishioners had.

The public comment process, which starts Friday, will last a month. The decision making phase will last longer, a matter of months.

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If the archdiocese decides to relegate the churches to “profane use,” under canon law, and sell them, they would no longer be considered sacred and the archdiocese would want them to be used for the benefit of the community without being offensive to the Roman Catholic Church.