ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - It's a painful announcement during Holy Week: The headquarters of the Diocese of Rockville Centre has been sold.
The diocese declared bankruptcy in October facing hundreds of Child Victims Act lawsuits.
As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports, in the footprint of the majestic cathedral sits the pastoral center of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The Chancery, as it is known, is a five story building on North Park Avenue. It's where top diocesan officials are headquartered, and it has just been sold for $5.2 million, amid bankruptcy.
The Fajardo family calls it painful.
"It's unfortunate for us as Catholics. I'm sad to see things go but on the same token, they've covered it up for too long," said Mary Farjado.
"They should pay for the sexual abuses of the priests," said parishioner Manny Fajardo.
Home to 1.4 million Catholics, Rockville Centre became the largest diocese in the United States to declare bankruptcy, facing more than 200 lawsuits under New York state's Child Victims Act.
The bishop says diocesan operations and ministry will not be affected by the sale. They have not yet finalized the location for their new headquarters.
At the same time, the diocese has decided to close seven of its grammar schools in the last year because of declining enrollment and revenue, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parent Lori Lang is school board president of St. Thomas in West Hempstead.
"I have to scramble to figure out where to send them to school. It's just heartbreaking for me and I just wish the diocese would be more forthcoming with what their long term plan is," Lang said.
Parents want some of the money from the sale of the headquarters to go to the schools set to close.
"Bishop Barres, we've been reaching out to him," said St. Raymond School parent Anne Petraro. "We feel ignored. We want to know if you've got all this money at least why can't we give it to the children."
"The diocese and the official committee of unsecured creditors have agreed that all proceeds from the sale will be used exclusively to compensate creditors," the diocese said in a statement.
Parents vow to fight the school closures.
The diocese says the doors of St. Agnes Cathedral and its complex are open and will continue to welcome the faithful.
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