Buffalo, NY (WKBW) Saint Gerard's Church in Buffalo held its last mass in January of 2008. Dwindling membership and a lack of funds pushed the parish to merge with another church in Buffalo. The building itself sat vacant. Until a parish in Georgia came calling. The building of St. Gerard's Church was sold to Mary Our Queen Parish in Norcross, Georgia.
"The church is going to be disassembled. It'll be deconstructed, it'll be shipped down to Georgia, and it'll be reconstructed. And it will continued to be used as a Catholic church," Diocese of Buffalo Communications Director Kevin Keenan said.
That move is now receiving national media attention, as Saint Gerard's Church prepares for its 900 mile trip from Buffalo to just outside Atlanta. The story of the impending Saint Gerard move will be chronicled on ABC's World News Tonight in the near future.
"I think it gives it a great deal of visibility. And what one of the hopes is that people that are interested in this type of preservation will become involved in the project," Keenan said.
The move is unprecedented. Keenan called it "the largest within the borders of the U.S.," and though smaller churches have been moved before, St. Gerard's is by far the largest. And though the location of the church will change, some things will stay the same.
Keenan said that Saint Gerard's will leave a legacy in Buffalo and in Georgia. "There will be a strong Buffalo connection to this church. It will always be known as the church that used to be at Bailey and East Delevan, that's now in Norcross, Georgia."
It is now up to Mary Our Queen parish in Georgia to raise the appropriate funds, about 16 million dollars, to fund the move. That money must be raised before the church deconstruction can start.