N.Y. church’s move to Georgia: ‘Preservation by relocation’?


N.Y. church’s move to Georgia: ‘Preservation by relocation’?

By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

BUFFALO — St. Gerard’s was where her grandparents and parents were married, where she was baptized and wore the white dress, shoes and veil of First Communion. Years later, she can still hear the three great bells, still see the ceiling fresco of Mary crowned Queen of Heaven.

Sharon Wilbur took those memories of St. Gerard’s Roman Catholic Church with her when she moved decades ago to suburban Atlanta, where such a church exists only in pictures. Now, two years after it closed, her old church could be following her south.

Instead of building a neoclassical church, Wilbur’s growing parish wants to buy classical-style St. Gerard’s, take it apart and ship it 900 miles from Buffalo‘s depopulated east side to Norcross, Ga., for reassembly at Mary Our Queen parish. The parish has the endorsement of the Catholic archdiocese of Atlanta, the diocese of Buffalo and St. Gerard’s former parishioners. All it needs is an additional $10 million.

Read more at usatoday.com

What is written below is my response to many critical comments about this move:

Why spend any money preserving anything like the Constitution and other historically significant items? Why spend money maintaining any church or building? Why spend money on research, on space programs? Or better yet why spend money on anything other than feeding the poor?

Because the poor will always be here so long as humans are greedy. The poor exist because men do not love their brothers as themselves! Revere and love God first and then love your brother as yourself no one shall want.

But we can’t do that because of our sinful nature. That is why when we do things in the name of Our Lord they always turn out for the best. These people want to preserve history and worship Christ in a more reverent and appropriate setting. There is no worship of architecture or of statues going on here.

They are choosing to serve God by ensuring a location for the visible Church in addition to providing the best they can for Christ, present in the Holy Eucharist, to be adored and preside over His flock.

Looks like being a Catholic is the right thing. We are always criticized and forever are outcasts. In light of this story we should remember to  do everything in the name of Our Lord: giving to the poor and even spending $14m to move a church.

The money for this will be obtained through donations by people who wish to have their funds spent in a manner that is reverent towards God. If we were to hold to the logic expressed by some of those who commented, there would never be any churches built and subsequently the visible Church would essentially be, invisible.

Some may like that idea because it conforms to what they think is right. But this is not why Christ established a Church on the foundation of Peter. The Church was established to be the “light on the hill.” The Catholic Church alone, is the only religious institution not founded by men but instead by God made flesh (Mt 16:18).

It is “right to give Him thanks and praise.” Moving this church is a form of praise. As Jesus says in John 12:7-8, “Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not always.” Christ was rebuking Judas for wanting to sell the ointment “for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” Why would he do that? Because Judas was actually interested in stealing the money. It is important to understand that the root sin of stealing is selfishness. You covet what someone else has.

In this case many here covet what some in the Archdiocese have, which is reverence to God as exhibited in the desire to fund the move of a historic church thus preserving architectural history and providing a more inspiring location for parishioners to worship God.

Mind you, if these desires are purely selfish in nature this plan will fail in some fashion. But if it is the alignment with God’s will and for the praise He deserves, then it will all work out for the best. Remember, this Church will be a location for the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Doesn’t Our Lord deserve the very best?


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