EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 22, 2013

Beloved parish sells for $232K

LAWRENCE — It was a church that its parishioners fought hard to save, and for many it still hurts them to see it vacant.

Now it stings a little more as Sts. Peter and Paul Church has been sold by the Archdiocese of Boston for $230,000.

“The opportunity was too good to pass up specially at that price,” said buyer Alberto Nunez, who also purchased the former Holy Trinity property on Avon and Trinity streets for $500,000. “The parking lot is so big, I can build two duplexes on it.”

Like the Holy Trinity site, Nunez said he wants to convert the Sts. Peter and Paul to residential housing. Located on a 26,200 square foot lot at 125 Chestnut St., the Sts. Peter and Paul property includes the church, rectory and a parking lot.

Sts Peter and Paul, which served the spiritual needs of Portuguese Catholics, closed in 2004 when the archdiocese reorganized the seven churches in Lawrence into three parishes. Members of Sts. Peter and Paul, along with those of St. Francis and Holy Trinity, joined Holy Rosary to create Corpus Christi Parish at Holy Rosary. St. Mary merged with Assumption to become St. Mary of the Assumption Parish. In South Lawrence, Sacred Heart was closed and members were encouraged to join St. Patrick Parish.

When Sts. Peter and Paul closed, the church became the asset of St. Mary, said Terrence C. Donilon, secretary for Communications for the Archdiocese of Boston.

“All proceeds (as were the expenses) became the proceeds for St Mary’s,” Donilon said. “The parish paid the expenses so the parish received the proceeds.”

St. Mary of the Assumption Parish used Sts. Peter and Paul to celebrate Mass, host retreats, meetings and church festivals. The rectory was used as a house of discernment for Spanish-speaking candidates who were considering joining the Augustinian order. St. Mary Parish stopped using Sts. Peter and Paul in 2009.

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