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Aug 02

Newsletter – August 2012

August 2, 2012

Dear Friends,
As you are surely aware, Bishop Edward U. Kmiec ordered all activities at St. Ann’s Church and Shrine suspended as of April 30, 2012. Citing a 126-page report assembled by Arbour Construction, the bishop stated that the church had significant structural damage that needed further study. The bishop’s order came as a sudden surprise to all of us.

The parishioners of St. Ann’s Church had made two appeals with the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome. We lost our appeal to remain an independent parish. The Congregation is, however, still investigating a second appeal to prevent St. Ann’s Church and Shrine from being reduced to profane status so that it could be sold and/or possibly demolished.

In the meantime, we have remained quietly busy. We have moved our 10 AM Sunday Mass to outdoors. Our outdoor masses have been a spiritually uplifting experience for us, and have given us special insights into trials the early Christians must have faced. But we have also experienced a spirit of gratitude—gratitude for an extraordinarily long run of rainless Sundays this summer and gratitude that we have the freedom to have outdoor masses. We decided to have outdoor masses so that we can pray together so long as we have an appeal in process, and so that we can stay in touch. You are all welcome to join us.

We also celebrated our annual St. Ann triduum outside. During mass on the second day of the triduum celebration, a rainbow formed to the east. It is not the first time since our journey to preserve St. Ann’s church began in 2006 that a rainbow formed during our triduum celebrations.

We have also continued in the pursuit of our goal in reopening the church so that people can once again worship inside. We continue to hold our planning meetings—as we have done since 2006. We have been in regular communication with the Diocese of Buffalo and the City of Buffalo. We have been in contact with several architects. Most of their preliminary opinions seem to indicate that St. Ann’s Church isn’t going to collapse anytime soon. But there is obviously a need for restorative work, and on that we all agree. The only questions from there are the magnitude of the necessary work, the urgency, the costs and the will to commit to any of it. We know how WE wish to answer that last part, but we’re not sure yet how the diocese will decide or what Rome might decide. We do know that we—St. Ann’s people, the diocese and possibly the entire WNY community—all need to be a part of that discussion.

The diocese has informed us that they will soon do a more thorough study of St. Ann’s Church. We hope that we all will soon have a clearer picture of needed work and projected costs. We have asked, whenever possible, that cost estimates be accompanied by some ranking of the urgency of repairs. Not all problems are as serious as others, and not all problems need to be resolved as immediately as others.

If you are concerned about stones falling from the church, the pictures you may have seen of missing stones were pictures of gaps left by stones that we had removed two years ago to avoid any future problems. Apparently some people saw gaps, and gravity being what it is, they drew some very plausible—but as it turns out, inaccurate—conclusions.

In the meantime, we continue in the hope that the Diocese is willing to commit to the preservation and survival of one of Buffalo’s most artistic and culturally significant religious structures. Once the time comes that we are allowed to survive, we will be looking for your help in restoring and maintaining St. Ann’s Church and Shrine. Even though we face some daunting tasks, we stand committed to seeing this through. God is still in charge, and with HIM, all things are possible.

In the meantime, pray. Pray for our Diocese and for all its leaders. Pray for us. Pray for the City of Buffalo. Pray that what is good and right might be what will ultimately happen.

St. Ann, pray for us.

Martin Ederer & Carol Robinson
Co-Chairs, St. Ann’s Revitalization Committee

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