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Thornwood's Legion of Christ to Sell Land

THORNWOOD, N.Y. – After being in Thornwood for over 15 years, the Legion of Christ campus off Columbus Avenue will soon be closing its doors.

Luis Garza, territorial director for the North American Legion of Christ, said in a statement that there are multiple circumstances in the current Roman Catholic congregation that are forcing the Thornwood branch to close.

“I do not want to dwell excessively on our recent history. But our present challenges, especially our pressing financial difficulties, require us to recognize that there are several factors that have led us to be where we are now,” Garza said in the statement.

The Thornwood Legion of Christ first opened in 1996. The location is adjacent to the Mount Pleasant Community Center and the Westlake High School and Middle School campus. Jim Fair, a spokesperson with the Legion of Christ, said the building will remain open until the location is sold and that the area of the land spans approximately 262 acres.

Fair said that the legion has seen a global decrease in funds and reputation over the past few years, which he said resulted from a poor economy and scandal involving their founder. In 2010, it was reported that then deceased founder Marcial Maciel was accused of sexual abuse.

“It was pretty much a perfect storm of issues for us over the past few years,” Fair said. “We’ve seen a significant decrease in donations to our congregation.”

The location acts as a branch of The Legion of Christ, where members are involved in vocation to priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. Currently, there are 72 men studying at the Thornwood location.

Fair added that the men studying at the Thornwood location will be moved to study in Rome once the building closes. He said the people studying there are not necessarily from the Westchester County area.

“We assign people to our locations from all over the world, it’s not specific to the region,” Fair said. “So we have people there from the southern region of America, going all the way to places like Africa and Europe.”

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