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Buffalo News: The story of St. Ann’s Church is the story of Buffalo

Buffalo News

(By Joan Wickett) She stands almost in defiance, her shell showing the signs of battle against weather, age and neglect. A victor over attempts of vandals and hierarchy alike to tear her down, St. Ann’s Church at Emslie Street and Broadway remains after a century and a quarter as a monument to the dedicated immigrants who built her.

Many, like me, have personal attachments to her. My grandfather was one of the German carpenters who volunteered to work on her. It was at a social event at St. Ann’s that he met my Polish grandmother and wooed her. They wed in the newly completed church. Their children, and their children after them, were baptized under her dome. My mother and her siblings were taught in her school – in German at first and then English as World War I left its anti-German impact. My sisters and I all graduated from her halls. Her business school was the preparation forum for many of the city’s secretarial pool. My grandparents and parents were buried from her.

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Join the Saint Ann’s Community for Annual Buffalo Saint Ann Triduum Celebration


Thursday July 24

6:45 P.M. Outdoor Rosary at St. Ann Church 651 Broadway (at Emslie St.)

7:15 P.M. Mass at SS. Columba-Brigid Church
75 Hickory St. at Eagle St.

Friday July 25

6:45 P.M. Outdoor Rosary at St. Ann Church

7:15 P.M. Mass at SS. Columba-Brigid Church

Saturday July 26: Feast of St. Ann

6:45 P.M. Outdoor Rosary at St. Ann Church

7:15 P.M. Mass at SS. Columba-Brigid Church
(Fulfills Sunday Mass Obligation)

Join the Saint Ann’s community in honoring the Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Grandmother of Jesus!

St. Ann’s Church and Shrine
c/o 418 N. Division St.
Buffalo, New York 14204

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Photos & Video from Rosary Mob at Saint Ann’s

A nice crowd of people showed up to pray the Rosary on Saturday outside of Saint Ann’s Church and Shrine at Broadway and Emslie. The event was organized by the Friends of Saint Ann’s and Buffalo Mass Mob. It’s was the kind of event that not only illustrates the power Saint Ann’s has in drawing people to it to pray, but also that there are people who are willing to come out show support for the efforts to save this iconic church.

Next Sunday, there is a fundraiser for Saint Ann’s. You can find out more about it by clicking here. Even if you can’t attend, consider donating to effort.

Here are some pics from the Rosary Mob:

(clock on images for full view)

Here is a video of the Rosary:

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The Friends of Saint Ann’s and Buffalo Mass Mob organize Rosary Mob for this Saturday

rosary-mob copy

Buffalo’s shuttered 127-year old St. Ann Church & Shrine will receive special attention as hundreds will gather for a special “rosary mob” at 10 a.m. this Saturday, May 10. The Friends of St. Ann’s, a group of preservationists, is organizing the event.

The public is asked to converge outside of the shrine, 651 Broadway at Emslie, to pray the rosary en-masse to show solidarity with parishioners who can no longer worship inside the edifice.

The rosary mob was a re-thinking of the original idea of a “mass mob” that was to have taken place at St. Ann’s in August of 2013. It never happened because the church was closed.

“Saint Ann’s was originally one of the churches we thought of when organizing the group,” said Christopher Byrd, co-founder of Buffalo Mass Mob. “Working with the Friends of Saint Ann’s in doing a Rosary Mob will help raise awareness about this incredible church and efforts to save it. This is a great opportunity for the community to come and show their support for Saint Ann’s.”

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has closed the structure to the public since 2011.

“We have been praying outside of St. Ann’s Church since late last summer and are hoping hundreds will join us this Saturday at 10 a.m. so we can show them the dedication of our core of parishioners, who sadly have been kept away from their iconic shrine since its closing,” remarked Martin Ederer, a St. Ann parishioner who is also history professor at SUNY Buffalo State. “If we could only show these people the incredible interior of St. Ann’s, they would know why we are still here seeking a solution we can all be proud of.”

The church was built by the congregation of St. Ann in 1878-1886 and features stained glass windows by Royal Bavarian Art Works in Munich, Germany, and statuary that is considered rare and priceless. The gothic structure was designed by the famed Francis Himpler of New York City. The church’s congregation opened the east side landmark without debt over 125 years ago.

The shrine in Buffalo has, since 1886, conveyed the same graces as the international shrine in Baupre, in the province of Quebec. It is a shrine to St. Ann and one of few parishes built solely by the hand of its parishioners, common German immigrants. The main tower rises over 12 stories tall and contains the largest swinging bell in Buffalo. The clock in the high tower is a weight-driven 1895 Howard mechanical pendulum clock that had to be hand-wound once a week until its weight rewind system was electrified in the late 1930s. The clock, designed to strike every fifteen minutes, still functions.

Supporters of Saint Ann’s won an appeal with the Vatican earlier this year to keep the church open as a house of worship.

“The Friends of Saint Ann’s want to work with the Buffalo Diocese to come up with a feasible plan to restore the church and open its doors,” stated Ron Bates, a parishoner and member of the Friends of St. Ann’s.

A fundraiser for this purpose has been arranged for noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 18 at Forestview Restaurant, 4781 Transit Rd., Depew.

More information on St. Ann’s Church and Shrine, including a video of the church’s history, is available at Information on the Rosary Mob and Mass Mob is available at

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