- Associated Press - Saturday, April 26, 2014

MONONGAHELA, Pa. (AP) - A Roman Catholic Church member says about 25 parishioners are holding a vigil at a parish in western Pennsylvania and refusing to leave to protest its closing.

Joe Ravasio says he and fellow parishioners at St. Anthony Church in Monongahela (muh-nahn-guh-HAYL’-uh), about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, are being told that they cannot return if they leave. He says the heat and lights are shut off, and security guards are posted at the doors.

Brody Hale of the Catholic Church Preservation Society says the dispute has been ongoing. The 110-year-old St. Anthony’s merged with another parish in 2011. Both buildings had remained open, but the Diocese of Pittsburgh announced last month that it would close St. Anthony’s because of dwindling membership. A message seeking comment was left with the diocese late Saturday.

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