Sunday, December 27, 2009

St. Francis Xavier / Buffalo Religious Arts Center

The German Roman Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier of Black Rock was established in 1849. It was first granted mission status when a chapel was built to accompany the religious school that had been the original goal of the community. The existing structure on East Street in the City of Buffalo was built in 1911.

In the all too familiar ways of the latter 20th century, the church was shut down by the diocese after merging with St. John the Baptist on Hertel (below) in a futile attempt to try to stave off the inevitable decision by the bishop.

The Buffalo Religious Arts Center has risen in its place, storing religious treasures and offering tours. It was by chance as I was taking church pictures one Saturday afternoon in October that I saw the doors were open. So I went and wandered around on a self-guided tour, which means I probably missed a lot.

An early folding chair and a mural of St. Joseph caught my attention (note the smoke stacks commemorating local industry in the top corners).

Not all of the salvaged artwork is Catholic.

There's much more than I captured on photo card. For some reason I'm thinking photography wasn't encouraged, although no one was hovering to rip cameras out of the hands of people.

The inside of St. Francis is beautiful and is worthy of the tour on its own merits.

It wasn't until I got home and looked at my pictures that I realized that they charged for the tour.

Apparently I had been so busy talking to people that everyone thought someone else had received my donation. Oops. I went back the next day to rectify that matter. Saving religious art treasures is a worthy cause and it's wonderful work they are doing. There's more to come in 2010. Check their website for more information.

PS - That other church on the right of the map is St. John's Evangelical at 85 Amherst Street (easily visible to each other) just to help establish that you're in the right neighborhood :)

No comments: