This is terrific news for a struggling neighborhood. The best kind. It is good news for the City and represents the first time in Buffalo NY where a former National Register eligible Catholic church, once deaccessioned by the Diocese, will be reused as a house of worship. I've been impressed with Bishop's Alvarez's vision and and his willingness to move forward with a project of this scope and importance. He's forging an example with his ministry and stewardship of St. Matthew's of what is now possible with religious heritage structures in the City's most fragile and neglected neighborhoods.
fixBuffalo readers may recall the Mayor's Anti-Flipping Task Force took action against an attempt to flip St. Matthew's on eBay in 2007 shortly after the church was purchased at the City's tax auction for $3500. Since then the building continued to deteriorate and was a frequent stop on the urban exploration circuit and a favorite haunt for photographers.
When I spoke with Bishop Alvarez this week he asked me to help spread the word about the planned community work session this weekend. So, please take a moment to like the congregation's Facebook page and stay current with his ministry and St. Matthew's church as a new chapter on the city's East Side is born.
Stay tuned for an extended interview with Bishop Alvarez.
Additional information: fixBuffalo archive and St. Matthew's image file