Chinese Congregants Purchase Catholic Church for Worship

The Worcester Congregation Chinese Gospel Church has obtained a new house of worship in the former Our Lady of Fatima Church after months of effort.

A deal was formally inked Friday between Massachusetts' church officials at the Diocese of Worcester to purchase the former Roman Catholic Church, according to Worcester's The Telegram. The Chinese congregation had outgrown their former place of worship at the former Belmont A.M.E. Zion Church. Now its members will worship just blocks away at Our Lady of Fatima.

Reverend Timothy Zhiqiu Xu spoke to The Telegram about the Gospel Church's acquisition. He explained that the purchase was made possible after the price of Our Lady of Fatima had been dropped twice.

"We finally have the keys to the building," he said. "God's hand is truly behind this purchase."

The Gospel Church is linked to a congregation founded in the early 1980's and will now continue to grow in the new location. Formerly named after the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Fatima Church was built in 1910 and was originally named Trinity Lutheran Church.

A statement issued by Bishop Robert J. McManus revealed his pleasure that Our Lady of Fatima Church would be occupied by another Christian faith group.

Many Worcester locals are pleased with the Chinese congregation's take over also. Last spring the church was on the market for $1.4 million and was purchased by a realty group, but the deal fell through. People of Worcester were concerned that the church would be torn down or become a parking lot, but now it will remain a place of worship.

Rev. Zhiqui Xu said that a few repairs are necessary in the building and that classrooms will be added, but that he hopes to hold the first service by March.