Tag Archives: sacred architecture

The House of God and the Gate of Heaven

I received some edifying email on yesterday’s post about the church closing in Buffalo.

Dear Harvey,

I was saddened to read your post about the Catholic church in Buffalo, NY.  This has been happening there for awhile, unfortunately.  

I am a native of Syracuse, NY.  Small world!  

We live in Atlanta, Georgia, and joined our current parish this past January.  While not a TLM parish, the new pastor is very reverent and slowly doing what he can to bring elements of it into our Masses.  -This is a good step. Keep encouraging him to go all the way! There have been a handful of truly beautiful new Catholic church buildings constructed recently. The new Christendom College Chapel comes to mind. HM

Interestingly enough, our parish is a brand new church “building”, but the elements (pews, windows, high altar, candles, side altars, confessional, etc.) are all from St. Gerard’s church that was closed in Buffalo, NY.

Our parish tried to purchase the entire building, but the local community in Buffalo stopped it.  Here is an article all about it:

buffalonews.com/news/local/st-gerard-church-and-rectory-heading-for-sale/article_a3f37fa2-95bb-5893-bb86-b44f4783c596.html

St. Gerard church and rectory heading for saleMelinda MillerThe St. Gerard church and rectory on Buffalo’s East Side will soon have a new owner, as long as a State Supreme …

St. Gerard’s church building ended up being purchased for the purpose of being a mosque, which is horrible.  I am glad the major elements were saved.  The new church here is built to look just like St. Gerard’s.

Attached are pictures of what the sanctuary looks like here in GA (from Lent/Easter/All Souls):

Thanks for reading!  Your post hit close to home in more ways than one!

God bless you,

A

Another reader sends this:

It’s a painful punishment.  I’m a fan of beautiful old churches. We have a church still in use in Pittsburg but next to it the school has a big banner on it – Yeshiva School.  Probably no one cares. Oh we care… – HM   Lord have mercy on us.

S.

This kind of thing is not new since the asteroid hit in the 1960’s. On the one hand, we can be thankful that we have beautiful, old churches from which to draw pieces for our new churches. On the other hand, it is, as I remarked yesterday, another “fruit” of the Council that these churches are being closed.

As for the number of them being sold to become “Islamic centers” or mosques… Here’s what I say.

Burn it down and salt the earth.

I would rather these properties meet that fate than that the altars on which Our Lord came down for the propitiation of our sins be desecrated like this. And for a mere pittance at that…

Today was the feast day of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss. Peter and Paul in Rome.

The blurb in the Missal states that these two basilicas were dedicated on the same day – November 18th, in the year 325, by Pope St. Sylvester I. 325! What struck me even more, though, were certain lines in the prayers of the Mass. Take a gander.

Collect:

O God, Who for us bring each year the recurrence of the consecration day of this Your holy temple, and always bring us back safely to the sacred rites, hear the prayers of Your people and grant that whoever enters this temple to pray for blessings, may rejoice in having obtained whatever he sought.

Preface for the Dedication of a church:

It is truly right and just, proper and helpful toward salvation, that we always and everywhere give thanks to you, O Lord, holy Father, Almighty and eternal God, for you, the giver of all good gifts, inhabit this house of prayer which we have built, and unceasingly sanctify the Church which you founded. For your Church is the true house of prayer signified by these visible buildings, the temple where your glory dwells, the seat of unchangeable truth, the sanctuary of eternal charity. She is the ark which rescues us from the deluge of this world and brings us into the port of salvation. She is the one beloved Bride whom Christ acquired by his blood and quickens by his Holy Spirit. In her bosom we are born anew by your grace, nourished by the milk of the Word, strengthened by the bread of life, encouraged by your merciful aid. With the help of her Bridegroom she struggles faithfully on earth and, crowned by him, is triumphant forever in heaven. Therefore with the Angels and Archangels, the Thrones and Dominations, and all the militant hosts of heaven, we continuously praise your glory in song, and say…”

Catch that? The physical property, the building “which we have built” is the literal dwelling of God among us. He is present in the Tabernacle, He comes down on the altars contained therein, and He sanctifies these places so that we, like Noah and his kin, can be rescued, “snatched from the deluge of this world”, and will be carried safely to our actual home. These buildings should remind us of arks. They should be places of quiet prayer and sacrifice. They should not look like jagged spaceships. Don’t get me started on the demise of sacred art in the Catholic Church (another fruit of the Council). These places are “the house of God and the gate of heaven”. And we’re abandoning them and selling them to the Islamists.

Again I ask, will anyone remember what these places looked like when we have the means and opportunity to rebuild them for God? I shudder to think what will become of St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Without the Walls in Rome.

Tonight I will go and spend time in my Lord’s house praying for His Church and simply being silent in His presence.

Keep sending me pictures of beautiful churches and artwork. I love to share them so we know we’re not alone.

O Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!

Buffalo Blues

Many of you know that weather (and in particular, extreme weather events) are a fascination of mine. I typically lull myself to sleep at night watching tornado videos on YouTube. I have been known to spend hours reading articles about infamous blizzards that stranded people across large swathes of the country. I can sometimes be found immersing myself in documentaries about the most destructive hurricanes in history. Am I nuts? Probably. I just never let go of the five year-old boy sense of wonder at incredibly large, powerful, and awe-inspiring things like construction equipment and airports.

I also harbor a soft spot in my heart for certain regions of the Northeast. For instance, I’ve always had fun on my visits to Boston. I love to walk the streets going from pub to pub. I have some bizarre fascination with Pittsburgh even though I’ve only ever spent at best a weekend there. I think it’s because of the geography. Two rivers merge into a third. That’s just bizarre to me and worthy of respect at the same time. The western reaches of upstate New York are another favorite of mine. When I was a toddler, my family lived outside of Syracuse for about a year and a half. When I got married, my wife and I honeymooned in the Finger Lakes and Niagara. And Buffalo – second largest city in the Empire State – always struck me as, well, a neat little city that lost some of its former luster but still tries somehow to sparkle as one of the great Great Lakes cities. Truthfully, I have spent quite a bit of time in Buffalo as a dear friend of ours was in the Carmel there for a number of years and we would occasionally visit. Side note: say a prayer for the nuns.

So this afternoon as I was cross-referencing my obsessions online, I stumbled upon the site of one of the local news channels in Buffalo. I came for the blizzard coverage – they’re about to get slammed with a truly historic 4-6 FEET of snow – and I stayed for the destruction of the church. No, I’m not talking about the “capital-C-Church” as in Bride of Christ and Mystical Body. Satan can try all he wants but Our Lord isn’t a liar so we know that’s not going anywhere (even if She is in terrible eclipse at the moment). I am talking instead about the physical destruction of a church building. Take a look at the story linked below.

Google Maps screenshot of the property in question. Must have been amazing going to Mass here prior to 1965.

St. Ann’s Church Property Sold

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The former St. Ann property, including the church, school and convent, sold Wednesday to Buffalo Crescent Holdings, Inc. for $250,000.
The company plans to convert the 651 Broadway property into a downtown Islamic Center.
According to the Diocese of Buffalo, St. Ann’s was part of the parish (sic) until 2007. All activities ceased at the church in 2013.

WKBW.com

I started reading the article and felt sick to my stomach. $250K? An Islamic Center? How disgraceful. I did some further digging and discovered that the parish school had at one time been one of the largest private schools in the nation, boasting an enrollment of 2000. The convent, rectory, all of it… Useless now. The Diocese has been through some rough times over the past decade at the hands of bad shepherds and I’m sure that might have had something to do with this situation. But when you think about it, this is really just another one of the “fruits of the Council”. Dwindling numbers of priests, non-existent religious vocations, Catholics who abandoned the actual practice of the Catholic faith (i. e., Mass and the sacraments), schools that failed and fell apart. And today what do we see?

On this sunny and cold day before a record lake-effect snowfall completely buries Broadway on the East Side of Buffalo, NY, we witness the final nail driven into the coffin of the once-great presence of Catholicism in that neighborhood.

To think of the number of faithful who gave their blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention all of their money in order to build this magnificent edifice to God’s glory; and to know that it will become a temple to the false god of a heathen people, is to make one cringe bile and weep bitter tears.

But then again, NuChurch would have you not weep. Remember, we’re an (snaps fingers) Eater People! Oh and evangelizing people is a sin according to the “pope” of the NuChurch. He tells us to let the Mohammedans be Mohammedans and we can all get along and they can buy our glorious buildings for pennies on the dollar because we need to shift our focus to helping James Martin, SJ build latex bridges.

A remnant we shall be. I just hope someone remembers what these places looked like so we can one day build anew.

St. Ann, pray for us!

TLM’s of the West Coast

Regular readers will note that I typically drop in a picture of some species of sacred art or architecture into every post. I think it’s important to share our patrimony for the sake of studying the art itself.

All of the pictures to date, unless otherwise noted, are taken directly from my camera roll – meaning I took them myself because I have visited those places.

Today two of my friends sent in some photos. I would like to share them with you. If nothing else, you can see that there are options when you travel.

First up, the parish of St. Stephen the First Martyr in Sacramento, CA. This parish is run by the FSSP and has been described to me as the “original flagship of the Fraternity” before that spot was taken by Mater Dei in the Dallas area.

Next up is another west coast property – the parish of the Holy Innocents in North Long Beach, CA.

Pray that one day soon, all of our Catholic churches will once again look like Catholic churches.