The Comite del Amor (Committee of Love), which has been fighting to reopen St. Isidore Catholic Church, may soon have an opportunity to lease the building, with an option to buy.
Though officials at the Diocese of Orange maintain that the building will not be reopened as a church, they have set an Oct. 1 deadline to reach an agreement to reopen the building to the community.
"We've been having a series of meetings with the Comite [about the church]," Bishop Jaime Soto said. "I'm eager to bring [the discussions] to some kind of resolution, to turn some talk into action."
The church was closed last year after church officials found that the 77-year-old building would be unsafe in an earthquake. The officials estimated that retrofitting would cost $300,000.
However, Comite members said they have received a $40,000 estimate from a Dana Point contractor who said he would perform the work for free.
"It feels great," Comite member Rebecca Cagle said. "It feels like it's a step forward because a year ago we weren't even talking to the bishop. There was no communication."
Comite members plan to use the building as a community center and said they have already contacted several service organizations.
Soto said the diocese still plans to look into the issue of providing services to the Spanish-speaking residents of Los Alamitos. Parishioners who attended the Spanish-language Mass at St. Isidore have been encouraged to attend the nearby St. Hedwig, which added a Spanish-language Mass after the smaller church was closed in September.
"We don't necessarily provide pastoral care where needed for the residents who live in that area," Soto said. "None of the priests [at St. Hedwig] right now can speak Spanish, so it's always a challenge."
Chris Ceballos can be reached at (714) 966-7440.