A judge has rejected a request by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield that could have ended a protest vigil at a closed Holyoke church.
In a decision released Friday, a Superior Court judge denied a preliminary injunction that could have forced protesters out of Mater Dolorosa while the court considers the diocese's claim they're trespassing.
The parishioners have occupied the church since June, when the diocese closed it citing heavy debt and a dangerously unsafe steeple.
Vigil co-leader Victor Anop said the judge clearly believed the steeple's dangers were exaggerated. He said the ruling will boost the parishioners' appeal of the closure to the Vatican.
Diocesan spokesman Mark Dupont said the steeple remains unsound, and the diocese will do what it can to keep protesters safe while their trespassing claim is pending.
This program aired on October 28, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.