This amazing video was posted on Youtube by someone going by the name Maxwell Truth in July of 2012. There is minimal written explanation included other than the that bells of the towers have been ringing since 1878. Since the video posting the Catholic Church has deemed the building structurally dangerous and has just published its intent to demolish the incredible and historic building. I don’t think they are ringing the bells any more. St Ann is gorgeous inside and out. The thought that it is likely going to be demolished sends shivers down my spine. Hearing the bells ringing in this video makes you wonder how anyone of right mind could possibly consider demolition of this major AMerican treasure to be an option. The Church says that it will take $8M to $12M to make the building safe and usable again due to severe structural deterioration. Some have said it could take as little as $500,000 to make unspecified temporary repairs which would stabilize the building; buying valuable time for planning a comprehensive renovation. The Church states that the building deterioration is due to age and their own deferred maintenance (otherwise known as demolition by neglect). In the mean time he Vatican holds endless hallways full of art in the $8M to $12M range.
Listen to these incredible bells and take to heart the very severe cultural loss Buffalo and the United States will experience when this building is gone. Oh, they will rip out and package up all the beautiful historic goodies and spread them around so people can talk about how beautiful Buffalo used to be. It’s not the same thing as having the building standing. The Church promises us a green space in its place which will be ready for development (just like about 75% of this neighborhood.) I see that the Church has been studying up on that Lackawanna style progress. This action by the Catholic Church is a travesty. Future generations will look back on us as ignorant morons for what we are about to do.
UPDATE: The parishioners are inviting all interested parties to meet with them Wednesday at 7:00 in the Church School to map out an emergency plan to save the church building. They note that a critical mass of people is essential in this effort.
The Catholic Church, for its part in smoothing over the transition, has suggested that St Ann’s partitioners should feel welcome to attend this newly built church nearby called SS. Columba-Brigid. Below is a look at the wonderful new edifice that the Church had built recently for that congregation. (I wonder if it cost $8 to $12 M) Are they serious about this? Really? THIS!? It makes you want to pull your hair out when you see the very sad sad state our appreciation for art and architecture and urbanism and quality has sunk to. The freaking door does not even face the street ! ! !
In case you think that the church above is just a fluke here are few other relatively recent church buildings every bit as majestic as the stunning SS Columba- Brigid. None of these are proposed for closing and demolition. What if instead of closing St Ann and countless other Buffalo treasures they instead closed down a few of these crappy cartoon buildings they are calling churches. What if the Catholic Church asked its flock to take a journey of hope and faith into the slums of Buffalo to praise Jesus and do his work among the poor each Sunday? Why not consolidate the flock where its roots are, where its history is, and where its great art is? Why not combine the flock of the Catholic Church in the poorest most needy area of the region where their faith can be put to use solving the terrible social ills that continue unabated in the slums of Buffalo? Oh I know that would mean 15 to 20 minutes extra driving each Sunday. What was I thinking? Just forget I mentioned the idea.
UPDATE: Here is another Video I ran across on Youtube which shows the bells being rung for the last mass allowed by the Diocese in the church April 29, 2012