Catholic Bishops Join Assault on Cultural Treasures With Demolition of St. Ann’s
By Randy McClarin
Saint Ann’s Church and Shrine, an unparalleled Buffalo and Western New York treasure that equals or even tops Paris’ Notre Dame and New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, has been decreed profane and now faces an unforgiving wrecking ball by order of newly arrived Bishop Richard Malone.
Bishop Malone is a non-Western New Yorker but his decree is with the full concurrence of recently retired Bishop Kmiec who also is not a local cleric.
St Ann's was built in the 1880’s by German immigrants from Bavaria, Austria and Bohemia, who prepaid for every quarried block before it was floated down the historic Erie Barge Canal from quarries in Lockport to the docks of the Village of Buffalo. Once there, these monstrous blocks were hauled, foot by foot, with horse drawn dredges, to the Sacred Site selected for their soon to be incomparable sanctuary.
All told, hundreds of thousands of unpaid man-hours of backbreaking work were performed over years as this magnificent edifice rose, block by block, to become one of the most important and beautiful structures in the Niagara region.
The decree to demolish this treasure was issued by Bishop Malone without accepting one of many invitations of Saint Ann’s parishioners to visit the church.
Background on St. Ann
According to Christian and Islamic tradition, Saint Ann (also known as Anne or Anna, from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning "favor" or "grace") was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament never mentions Ann. She and her husband Joachim come from the New Testament apocrypha, of which the Protoevangelium of James (written perhaps around 150) seems to be the earliest mention.
In Protestant tradition it is held that Martin Luther chose to enter religious life as a Roman Catholic Augustinian monk after crying out to St. Anne.
Anne (Arabic: Hannah) is also revered in Islam, recognized as a highly spiritual woman and as the mother of Mary. The Qur'an describes her as the daughter of Faqud, who remained childless until her old age. One day she saw a bird feeding its young while sitting in the shade of a tree, which awakened her desire to have children of her own. Hannah prayed for a child and eventually conceived; her husband, named Imran, died before the child was born. Hannah bore a daughter and named her Mary.
St. Anne is patroness of unmarried women, housewives, women in labor, grandmothers, horseback riders, cabinet-makers, miners and the Mi'kmaq people of Canada. She is said to be the protector from storms.
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SEP 03, 2013