The boys are among the dozens of people who are maintaining a 24- hour vigil at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. They take turns on mattresses nicknamed "Jello rollercoasters," put together thousand- piece jigsaw puzzles, and pass time quilting, crocheting, or praying, as part of a campaign to save the church, which was closed by the Archdiocese of Boston a year ago. On Wednesday, the church community will celebrate the one-year anniversary of their occupation, with a prayer service lighted by 365 candles.
The vigil at St. Frances began with a bit of luck, from the parishioners' point of view. The locks on the church had been changed before they could decide how to respond to the archdiocese's plan to close the church, but a parishioner discovered that one door had been left ajar and slipped inside. She stayed in the church, waiting until someone could relieve her, and the vigil grew from there.
The "Quilt of the Hours" to be unveiled at Wednesday night's prayer service tells the story of their vigil. A colorful replica of the signup sheet has been stitched together. Fabric doors signifying the unlocked portal that started the vigil on Oct. 26, 2004 are scattered across the quilt, and behind each door is a photo of a participating parishioner and a pocket to hold their notes or mementos. [Bobbie Sullivan], a professional quilt-maker who often spends her hours in the church stitching, said she hopes to sew up the pockets so the quilt will become a time capsule.