Flipping Churches, Part II

A few weeks ago I photographed the Immaculate Conception (Elmwood and Edward) and reported on the Bishop Kmiec's plan to close church buildings. I'm increasingly more skeptical and have heard nothing new from the Buffalo Diocese regarding their dis-investment plan for the City of Buffalo.

While on the phone with the Dept. of Inspections last week I learned that there is NO inspection file for the former Immaculate Conception church building. This, despite Bishop Kmiec's announcement that the structure is being (has been, it's now closed) abandoned by the Buffalo Diocese. I believe Bishop Kmiec said the structure is in need of $800,000 of repairs.

I found this cool aerial shot of Immaculate Conception while trolling a Buffalo Forum at SkyscraperPage.com which shows just how large the complex at Elmwood and Edward Street is.
Elmwood & Edward
click to enlarge
And while Bishop Kmiec continues to reside at 79 Oakland Place, in the most expensive (highest assesment) residence in the City of Buffalo, it's helpful to remember what happens to former Catholic Church property when it's "flipped" to unsuspecting and irresponsible owners.

Transfiguration Church - Interior Buffalo's Old Orphan Home
click to enlarge
I did have the opportunity to meet a young priest from Corpus Christi the other day while looking at a few city owned properties in the Broadway Fillmore District. He's from Poland and has been here in Buffalo for 18 months. He's built like a rugby player and was walking around the neighborhood in jeans and a t-shirt wearing sandals. Much like any guy you might bump into on the Elmwood strip near Coles on a Friday night. We chatted about the neighborhood and his ministry. He reminded me that the "Church" is not made of buildings...it's the people. He really emphasized this point a number of times during our 20 minute conversation. And in fairness it was the first time since moving into Buffalo 18 years ago that I have ever seen a parish priest out and about on the sidewalk just checking in on local parish members.

Yet, I was left wondering if that might be a good defense -- "Church" is not made of buildings...it's the people --- in Buffalo's Housing Court in front of Judge Henry Nowak, if and when the Bishop is hauled in for failing to keep the Immaculate Conception Church Building in good repair.

We'll see...
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