Friends of Saint Ann’s weighing options after Diocese of Buffalo announcement

The Friends of Saint Ann’s are in the process of weighing our options after Diocese of Buffalo announces Apostolic Signatura’s ruling on the status of Saint Ann Church and Shrine.

Statement from Diocese of Buffalo:

The Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest judicial court, has ruled that Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, was within his rights to issue a decree on Aug. 14, 2013, closing St. Ann Church on Broadway in Buffalo.

For the past four years, the Diocese of Buffalo has been unable to move forward due to an appeal filed by Friends of St. Ann with the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, which decided in favor of keeping the parish open. That ruling was appealed by the diocese to the Apostolic Signatura, which reversed the decision, stating, “The decree of the Bishop of Buffalo of 14 August 2013 retains its original force.”

“Now that the Vatican has ruled, the decision to close the church is final,” Bishop Malone said. “We will do all that we can, within the confines of safety and feasibility, to remove all sacred and artistically significant artifacts. We hope to save the most significant elements of the Shrine of St. Ann for relocation. We will announce its new home in the diocese in the coming months.”

Bishop Malone said the church will now be placed on the market for sale. Potential buyers will need to provide documentation to support their ability to finance the extensive necessary repairs to the church. The Diocese of Buffalo has determined the estimated cost of stabilizing the building is just not a feasible expense within the mission of the Church.

The diocese is aware that the Friends of St. Ann have been raising funds over the years in the hopes of re-opening the church. Organizers of that effort are invited to use those funds to assist with the relocation of the elements of the interior shrine.

St. Ann Parish merged into SS. Columba-Brigid on Sept. 1, 2007, with the intention of using only the SS. Columba-Brigid site. Use of a single worship site was temporarily delayed during which time a weekly Sunday Mass was celebrated at St. Ann’s. Due to serious structural issues, all activities at St. Ann’s were suspended on April 30, 2012.

The parish opened in 1858 on Buffalo’s German East Side. The current church was built in 1886 in the Gothic Revival architecture style. It took eight years to construct.

Any potential purchaser interested in the church building, should contact the Diocese of Buffalo Buildings & Properties Department at (716) 847-8750.


    • FRANCINE L BROTON on November 25, 2017 at 11:46 am

    How sad to see all those beautiful hand made wooden pictures of all the pictures German people made from hand be torn down when I used to come to church on Sunday I would admire everything about the little things there the ceilings, statues, everything that no one would dream of thinking about confessionals . the little bathroom with that would keep you warm for that few minutes you entered when you came in out of the cold and my favorite seat in front to listen to the father Butch.
    At Christmas the Manger was so beautiful and the choir was so much love was put into it the voices brought tears to my eyes every time you all sang, when I heard of the closing and it then I never went back to Catholic church again. I still have pictures when I first went there and keep them if there is a way I can post them I will . I will always hold St. Ann close to my heart my great years ago took me there that is why I started going back there and now the tradition is gone my prayers are with you all and my heart breaks as yours all do, so sad this decision was made . No church will ever be as St. Ann the friendliness and hugs of all even if a stranger came in they were always welcome that is how God and St. Ann would want it. May god Bless you all for doing what you did and trying so hard to save the church and STILL BELIEVE NEVER STOP GOD HAS GOOD THINGS TO COME FOR ALL . MAY PEACE AND LOVE BE WITH YOU FOR A BLESSED HOLIDAY AND ST ANN WILL BE WITH YOU FOREVER.

  1. Hello, I just became aware of the threat to St Ann’s, having moved abroad from Buffalo in 1973 and from thereto Texas for the past 35 years. I hope see to teach at St Ann’s as a young women man. Devastated to read what happened to this wonderful church and historic landmark. I would like to know the status of the church. Have the artifacts been moved yet, has the building sold? I have been involved in historic preservation all my life as an attorney and community volunteer. After retiring from the bar a few years ago after a career as general counsel and VP of Institutional Advancement at two Texas universities, I incorporated a science education foundation for middle and high school kids from disadvantaged schools which is now NASA-funded. I credit the sisters at St Ann’s and my experience teaching after-school programs there to young black children, and giving reading and sewing lessons to groups of their mothers (while I was a college student) as the inspiration to a lifelong interest in supporting education. St. Ann’s is magnificently significant, both architecturally and historically. I hope your community efforts have not been in vain. If not too late, I would like to help rally support. Sincerely,
    Louise Cantwellt

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