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ANYBODY WANT TO BUY A ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH?

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:30 am
by eccles
Buffalo Catholic Diocese finds buyers for many churches closed in downsizing

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Amid the closings of Cleveland Catholic churches, city officials -- vexed by visions of vacant buildings in struggling neighborhoods -- might want to take a look at what's up in Buffalo.
Despite a weak real estate market, the Buffalo Catholic Diocese has had surprising success in selling its closed churches -- often hulking, high-maintenance, heat-draining structures. To date, the diocese has sold 38 of the 77 church properties it closed during a three-year downsizing plan that began in 2005.
"Despite the economy, we have not seen a drop-off," said diocese spokesman Kevin Keenan. "These are unique properties and there has been a significant number of people interested in them."
Some churches were turned into private residences. Others were sold to various religious groups.
"We've sold to Muslims, we've sold to Buddhists," said Keenan.

Two churches have been turned into museums. Another is now a recording studio for Christian music.
The shuttered, century-old St. Gerard is about to be disassembled stone by stone, pew by pew and moved 900 miles to suburban Atlanta, where it will be reconstructed as Mary Our Queen Catholic Church.
The idea came from Mary Our Queen's pastor, the Rev. David Dye, whose growing congregation is in need of a bigger church.
Dye estimated that to duplicate a classic stone structure like St. Gerard, using the same materials, including its 50 stained-glass windows, would cost $40 million.
But moving St. Gerard to his parish will cost about $15 million.
"St. Gerard's has far more beautiful space and features than anything we could create with modern materials," Dye, who likens the plan to an organ transplant, said in an e-mail to The Plain Dealer.

The work is scheduled to begin this year and take up to two years.
The sale price on St. Gerard has not yet been set, said Keenan, but it will be sold at market value, just like the rest of the churches whose sales have generated more than $4 million.
"None of that money goes to the diocese," he said. "It goes to the new parishes."
Toward the end of the closing process, Buffalo Bishop Edward Kmiec established a "Church Property Re-use Committee," made up of developers, real estate brokers, architects and preservationists to come up with ways to market the properties.
"Our bishop is big on collaboration," said Keenan.
The diocese kept some of the properties for various uses and still has 20 churches for sale.
"We have sales pending on a number of them," said Keenan, noting that deed restrictions prohibit buyers from using the former churches for abortion clinics, strip clubs, fortune-telling establishments, saloons or casinos.
Cleveland Councilman Anthony Brancatelli, whose ward is losing three of eight Catholic churches, welcomed the news of Buffalo's success.
"This sounds like a good opportunity to latch onto what Buffalo's doing," he said. "It's positive to hear how other cities are taking initiatives to creatively market these buildings. It sounds like Buffalo is trying to engage the community and to solicit input. And that's important."
Cleveland has closed more than 30 churches so far and will continue shuttering properties through May. To date, it has sold only one church, Holy Cross, established as a Polish parish in Elyria in 1922. It was purchased for $200,000 in December by the House of Healing and Outreach, a nondenominational church.
In Cleveland, the diocese has taken responsibility for selling, storing or donating sacred artifacts from closed churches, some of which were closed outright and not merged with other parishes.
In Buffalo, where all the closings were done through mergers, sacred items in closed churches are the responsibility of the newly formed parishes.
"The diocese is not making any sales or donations," said Keenan. "It's up to the pastor and parish council. One church donated stained-glass windows to a mission in Nicaragua."
Both dioceses cite the same reasons for downsizing -- fewer people in the pews, less collection-basket cash and a shortage of priests.
"Our bishop didn't want our priests to be circuit riders," said Keenan. "And, as the bishop has said, 'There is new growth when you prune back some of the branches.' "

By the numbers
The Catholic dioceses of Buffalo and Cleveland were incorporated on the same day: April 23, 1874.
Here’s how they stack up now.
• Number of counties served: Cleveland 8, Buffalo 8 .
• Number of priests, including active, retired and those in religious orders: Cleveland 504, Buffalo 449.
• Number of Catholics: Cleveland, 750,000 -- Buffalo, 690,000.
• Number of church closings: Cleveland 50, Buffalo 77.
SOURCES: Buffalo and Cleveland Catholic dioceses

Another statistic:
Number of Roman Catholics in the USA who have left the Church:

11 million and counting.

Re: ANYBODY WANT TO BUY A ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH?

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:30 am
by eccles
I was just told by old Roman Catholic friends that the local Roman Catholic Parish at Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast in Australia where I live, a Parish with it's own school gets only 80 people at Sunday Mass. The Church must seat about 500 people.

Re: ANYBODY WANT TO BUY A ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH?

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:39 am
by Regens Küchl
Buy a church :?:
Thanks, but no thanks > since one can easily steal one if he wants one :wink:
Russian church 'taken by thieves'

A 200-year-old church building has disappeared from a village in central Russia, officials from the Russian Orthodox Church say.

The building had stood near the village of Komarovo since 1809.

It was intact in July but some time in early October thieves made off with it brick by brick, they said.
Local prosecutors had been informed and an investigation was under way, a spokesman for the local Russian Orthodox Church said.

The disappearance of the Church of the Resurrection, some 300 km (186 miles) north-east of Moscow, was not immediately noticed.

It was in an out-of-the-way area and was not being used, although Church officials were considering resuming services there.

Now all that remained of the two-storey building - a school before it was turned over to the Church - were its foundations and some sections of wall, the Church said.

Thieves often target churches in rural Russia. Religious icons can be sold and church structures sold off for building materials.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7728407.stm

And eccles,
once I become hibernicus co moderator at irish catholics forum I will reinstate your account there which was so unjustly deleted :)

Re: ANYBODY WANT TO BUY A ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH?

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:55 pm
by eccles
Regens Küchl wrote:Buy a church :?:
Thanks, but no thanks > since one can easily steal one if he wants one :wink:
Russian church 'taken by thieves'

A 200-year-old church building has disappeared from a village in central Russia, officials from the Russian Orthodox Church say.

The building had stood near the village of Komarovo since 1809.

It was intact in July but some time in early October thieves made off with it brick by brick, they said.
Local prosecutors had been informed and an investigation was under way, a spokesman for the local Russian Orthodox Church said.

The disappearance of the Church of the Resurrection, some 300 km (186 miles) north-east of Moscow, was not immediately noticed.

It was in an out-of-the-way area and was not being used, although Church officials were considering resuming services there.

Now all that remained of the two-storey building - a school before it was turned over to the Church - were its foundations and some sections of wall, the Church said.

Thieves often target churches in rural Russia. Religious icons can be sold and church structures sold off for building materials.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7728407.stm

And eccles,
once I become hibernicus co moderator at irish catholics forum I will reinstate your account there which was so unjustly deleted :)
Ah. That's interesting. I did notice a certain amount of support for me there.