.- Former parishioners from Buffalo, New York will travel to Georgia to visit the site where their closed church building will begin serving a new congregation. A Catholic parish in the Atlanta area is relocating the historic church building over a distance of 900 miles.
Nineteen former parishioners from the Church of St. Gerard will travel to Mary Our Queen Parish in Norcross, Georgia to visit their 99-year-old church’s planned new home. The church was closed in 2008 due to declining membership.
The church is modeled after the famous Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. While reproducing a similar church from scratch would cost an estimated $40 million, relocating the Buffalo church building is expected to cost only $15 million.
Fr. Francis X. “Butch” Mazur, the last pastor of St. Gerard’s, will lead the pilgrimage, a press release from Mary Our Queen Parish reports. He and his parishioners will present a crucifix of St. Gerard’s to the Georgia parish.
The crucifix joins a 7.5 foot, 1,600 pound statue of St. Gerard and a stone Paschal Candle stand, delivered to Mary Our Queen at Easter.
Fr. David Dye and the Georgia parish will welcome the Buffalo parishioners with dinner and a reception on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 21. Buffalo residents in the Atlanta area are also invited to attend.
A Mass will be held on Sunday, Aug. 22 at 11 a.m., followed by a 12:30 p.m. reception. At the Mass, former St. Gerard’s parishioners will adorn the altar and will bring up the water and wine for the offertory.
A website about the relocation effort is at http://www.movedbygrace.com