Drive down Broadway from downtown to the city line of Buffalo and it’s not hard to notice the number of vacant lots where buildings once stood. This iconic Buffalo street has seen its share of losses over the last three decades. Broadway now faces another loss…a huge loss. The Buffalo Diocese announced yesterday that it plans to raze Saint Ann’s Roman Catholic Church.
Saint Ann’s has been a fixture on Broadway since the 1800s. The church is a living link back to the Broadway corridor’s rich Eastern European immigrant heritage and history. The German immigrants gave Buffalo Saint Ann’s. A church similar to the ones you see throughout Europe. It is a testament to the great melting pot of both Buffalo and America.
We have to save Saint Ann’s. There should be no question about it. The East Side has lost a lot. Losing Saint Ann’s will further empty Broadway and be a kick in the face to the proud people who still support the church.
In April of 2012, the Buffalo Diocese put up a fence around the church. Their claim was that the building was in danger of collapsing. Since then, the Saint Ann’s community has not been allowed in the church and has been holding Mass in the church’s former school or in the grotto behind the church. A core group of Saint Ann’s supporters have been working on a plan for restoration and fixing some of the problems with the church structure. I spoke with a few people with the church and they were shocked when Fr. Roy Herberger read the notice to them on Sunday about the decision to demolish the church. It was just about two weeks ago they were told by the diocese to go ahead and start their own engineers and architects report. This report would have outlined the manner in which repairs were to be made to Saint Ann’s under the parishioners plans.
Though I won’t speculate why the diocese decided to pull the plug and go ahead with plans to raze the church, there does appear to be something not right in the way they handled the situation and pushed its supporters out of the way.
The supporters of Saint Ann’s assured me they are going to fight. The larger Buffalo community needs to join this fight. We need to stand side-by-side with them to make sure Saint Ann’s is saved.
In the coming days and week, the Saint Ann’s community will update what their intentions are and how we can support them.
We have to save Saint Ann’s.
Update: Saint Ann’s Meeting Wednesday—>