HARTFORD - Some 5,000 Catholics from southwestern Connecticut arrived in Hartford Wednesday to protest a plan that would have given lay people more oversight of church finances.

The bill was dropped Tuesday, but parishioners say they were still determined to voice their displeasure with the proposal.

"We certainly are sending a message," Ken Roberts says. "Whether it's received properly or not is something I can't tell."

Stamford state Sen. Andrew McDonald, who co-chairs the committee that planned to hold a hearing on the bill Wednesday, says he never intended to offend anyone and was simply trying to address concerns raised by some of his Catholic constituents.

Those who were opposed to the bill said it would harm their religious freedom.