By ANDREW NELSON, Staff writer | Published December 22, 2016
PEACHTREE CORNERS—Stored in a warehouse and wrapped for safekeeping are artistic treasures from western New York.
Stained glass windows, along with the altar and other religious furnishings from a now closed but once grand parish in Buffalo, sit waiting for a new church building at Mary Our Queen Church.
“We hope that the windows will add beauty, comfort and tradition to new worship space. They are over 100 years old,” said Father Darragh Griffith, the pastor of the Peachtree Corners church.
It is a revision of an earlier plan to dismantle the imposing Buffalo landmark, made of Indiana limestone, and reconstruct it in suburban Atlanta. Rather than building a new church, Mary Our Queen Church leaders had talked with the Diocese of Buffalo about taking apart the 105-year-old St. Gerard Church and then reassembling it. But the Great Recession interfered with that plan, according to reports.
The parish spent $30,000 to $40,000 on the 41 stained glass windows and other items, including hiring a firm to remove and ship them to Georgia, according to reports.
The design blueprint for a new church at Mary Our Queen will work with the dimensions of the windows and altar. The parish also acquired pews, an altar of the Sacred Heart and statue and a baptismal font, in addition to the ambo, tabernacle, a marble presiders chair, and a statue replicating the Pieta.
“We are excited about the concept of installing artifacts from St Gerard’s in Buffalo into our new church. We believe that having a new worship space will enhance the area and grow the church,” Father Griffith said.
The parish leaders expect to break ground in the spring of 2017, with the new building completed in 2018. It will be constructed on the existing campus.
The windows, crafted by Otto F. Andrle, a Buffalo artisan, were unique in Buffalo, having been modeled on the windows of a cathedral in Augsburg, Germany, said Buffalo preservationists. St. Gerard was closed in 2008.
Mary Our Queen parish, needing more space for worship and ministries, planned in 2007 to build from scratch and hired an architect to create a design. But parish leaders explored the possibility of moving a vacant church from the Northeast, where many dioceses had to close buildings due to population shifts and priest shortages.
The Buffalo church remains on the market for $130,000.