Category Archives: Support

Statements of Support from Leaders and the community.

Support From Preservationists

Mark C. McDonald
President and CEO, The Georgia Trust

“I would like to gratefully acknowledge your efforts to save the historic St. Gerard Church in Buffalo, New York. This historic church has served the Diocese of Buffalo since 1911 and my understanding is that repeated preservation efforts in Buffalo have not led to positive results for the building to be rehabilitated in the city. That being the case, I believe that the dismantling and relocation of the magnificent building to Norcross will conserve the architectural integrity of this church and give it a fresh opportunity to serve the Diocese of Atlanta as the Parish of Mary Our Queen for years to come.

I believe your parish’s appreciation for the historic architecture of St. Gerard is commendable. We wish you the best in the arduous task of reconstruction which lies ahead and hope the outcome is as great as your commitment and dedication.

The relocation of historic buildings is the preservation alternative of last resort. However, a building as significant as St. Gerard should be preserved and its relocation is superior to demolition. Your respect for the heritage of St. Gerard and the citizens of Buffalo is quite evident.

Thank you again for your great appreciation for historic ecclesiastical architecture and we send you blessings as you embark on this project.”

Rodney Cook

President, The National Monuments Foundation

“I am fascinated with your idea to move St. Gerard’s from Buffalo, New York to Atlanta, Georgia. It is one of the most beautiful chaste church designs I have seen in America, especially for that time in Buffalo. I commend you for taking on this project and am hopeful I can be of help to you in the process.

This idea of preserving great American churches when their neighborhoods have outgrown them or moved on is indeed historic in itself. The ability to move buildings this large is increasingly easier as technology and expertise in this area advances. I think the team you are assembling are all able to accomplish this goal well and bring your project to a successful conclusion.

On the spiritual and most important front, this project serves as a beacon to the church of St. Gerard, as well as to the Catholic Church as a whole. This great building will have a resurrection and serve a community again for multiple generations, as it did for generations before, because of your endeavor. The pilgrimage of this building from New York to Georgia is full of history and symbolism. Mary Our Queen will certainly reap the blessings of such an exchange. I fully endorse your project.”

Mark A. Sadd, Preservationist

Member, Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC, Charleston, West Virginia

“The effort to relocate the beautiful and timeless St. Gerard Church from Buffalo, New York, to Norcross, Georgia, is an aspiration that I believe national historic preservationists will largely support and applaud in lieu of the building’s further decay and possible loss. I have seen and even helped the adaptive reuse of historic church buildings for secular purposes.  They were satisfying projects.  But, as a Catholic, I can imagine no more satisfying use of an historic Catholic place of worship in one place than as a Catholic place of worship in another. If successful, the relocation will be a marker of the universality of the Church across both time and space.  How much cooler can that be?”

 Mark Williams

Preservationist and Designer, Buffalo, New York

“I just became aware of this monumental relocation of St Gerard’s. If not for this project, St Gerard’s would become another victim of urban decay. There are voices in Buffalo who will oppose this relocation, but I have seen too many treasures destroyed due to lack of resources and community. A perfect example is Our Lady of Lourdes in downtown Buffalo. Closed in 2003, this magnificent building has been stripped of all of its stained glass and woodwork and sits empty and forlorn awaiting its final destination with a wrecking ball. Medina sandstone carted-off to a landfill is a sad state of affairs. I commend you for your efforts.”

Preservation Buffalo Niagara

For more information and an opportunity to become a supporter of this project, please go to


Support From Architects

Support From architects

Paul Gunther
President, Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America

“On behalf of the national constituency of the nonprofit, educational Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America based in New York but flourishing countrywide through a network of regional Chapters (based in Atlanta), I write in enthusiastic endorsement of the Passage to Preservation initiative to rescue and relocate the historic St. Gerard Church of Buffalo, New York, to the city of Norcross, Georgia. Remaining where it is spells a future that is uncertain at best. Today’s opportunity instead represents a chance for creative salvation.

The Passage creates a great model of green preservation and community building. Better still is the fact that along the way a work of traditional design, craft, and construction can endure – if not at the original site per se, then at least in a place where the expanding need for worship promises to breathe life into an American landmark worthy to so endure. It is the ultimate testament to the original architects, Karl Schmill & Son, as well as to the parishioners and neighborhood beneficiaries, who built and depended upon this great edifice until demographic shifts necessitated a changing contextual future.

To destroy this church at a time when elsewhere there is a need for it is feckless in the extreme, in terms of both the environment and our shared cultural patrimony and commitment to the future. To renew the structure, and along the way to sustain historic design and craft excellence, is a pilot endeavor that must and will be noticed and celebrated as a trail-blazing one – worthy of study and emulation.”


Elizabeth Meredith Dowling, PhD
Professor, Georgia Tech College of Architecture

“From the perspective of a professor in the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech for over thirty years, I am delighted to learn of your efforts to creatively save the endangered Church of St. Gerard in Buffalo. Both churches and schools represent special problems in preservation due to their reliance on stable populations and communities for their survival. As communities age, the viability of these institutions often wanes. Schools may have adaptive re-use potential as condominiums, stores, or restaurants, but how incongruous it would be to subdivide a nave into apartments, or dine at the high altar.

The strategy contained in Passage to Preservation represents a united vision of great scope that is seldom found in preservation efforts. Although examples of moving wooden buildings occur with some frequency, the concerted effort to relocate this building is a testimony to the quality of its design. Illustrations and descriptions of the building indicate materials and detailing that would be prohibitively expensive in new construction, but relocation of the building would make sensible use of their high quality in a viable new home of Norcross, Georgia. Preservation of cut stone, polished granite columns, stained glass windows and fresco painting in a configuration close to their original design is a far more satisfying fate than the tortured disassembly and sale of the whole into various parts as is the ignoble end for many buildings that have outlived their original purpose.

Although it would not be a loss to the built history of its home in Buffalo, the transfer of this legacy would ensure a lengthy survival in a growing younger town. This concept of looking far afield for solutions to thorny issues of the preservation of fine, but unused buildings is innovative and should represent a new united attitude to the maintenance of the great architecture of our past. Although a site is significant, it is but one part of a building’s history. The greater legacy is the craftsmanship and materials of the building. These items will not be lost, but will be enjoyed by a new community on a new site.”

For more information and an opportunity to become a supporter of this project, please go to

Support from Grateful Parishoners

Support From grateful parishioners

Dorothy Eckl
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“It’s mind-boggling to me, but I’m so happy that something’s going to happen with the church.”

Click here to view an interview with Dorothy Eckl


Kevin P. Phalen
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“I was born and raised in St. Gerard’s Parish and worshipped there for more than forty years. It was built to be a Catholic House of Worship and should remain such, no matter where it is. I look forward to the day I can attend mass in that building again when I visit Atlanta.”


Lisa LaCerais Spada
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“I also grew up in St. Gerard’s Parish, worshipped there and attended school there from K-8 and was deeply saddened as I attended its final Mass. St. Gerard’s was built as a place of worship and should remain as such. God bless the people of Atlanta in their quest to move this beautiful church to their city. I know my family and I would be overjoyed to attend mass in our church as it begins its new life in a new place.”


Jim Palmatier
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“St. Gerard’s is such a beautiful building. I hope this goes through and makes the people of Georgia as happy as it did those here who once went there.”


Marge Phillips
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“I am so happy that this beautiful church will live on to serve its original purpose as a center of worship for the Catholic community. It breaks my heart every time I drive by and see St. Gerard’s standing vacant and empty. I have been praying to God to watch over the church and for this move to go through successfully. It looks like my prayers are being answered. Thank you and God bless you.”


Tony W.
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“I was raised in St. Gerard’s Church and was saddened by the thought that one day it would meet the wrecking ball. I went to school there until the 6th grade and walked to St. Gerard’s every day, including Sunday, from the house my father and I were born in. I was an altar boy and vividly remember Monsignor Selbert. I will pray for an easy transition to Georgia.”


Karl Hertlein
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“Me, my twin brother, and our older brother were all baptized in and graduated from St.Gerard’s. We also did maintenance work on the church and set up pins in the bowling alley as part-time work.  I remember Monsignor Scherck, Father Salbert, and Father Wagner. I also fondly remember Sister Donald, who was one of my teachers. I now live in Sun City, Florida and have a son who lives in Atlanta.  He is an architect and will be following this project closely. I will attend the first Mass at the relocated church with my son and grandchildren. Good luck!”


Edmund G. Kotkiewicz
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“My family lived on Roslyn St. in Buffalo until we moved to Williamsville in 1965. I graduated from 8th grade in 1957; my three sisters and brother graduated after me. My uncle, Reverend Chester Kotkiewicz, gave the commencement address at my graduation in 1957. We were parishioners at St. Gerard’s from 1954 to 1965 and I served as an altar boy from ages 12 to 18. We were there when Monsignor Selbert and Father Braun were there. I am now 66-years-old and hope to live long enough to go to Mass at the church when it is moved.”

Pat (Glynn) Hoppe 
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“My grandparents, The Reimanns, were members of this parish until they died and they owned the saloon that used to be on the opposite corner. My mom grew up in this parish as did my uncle, Bill Amthur and the Hausbeck family. I took my First Holy communion in this parish in 1941. I was shocked to hear the news. If I am still alive when it is complete in Norcross, I would love to drive down and see it.”

Robert P. Reeder 
Former St. Gerard parishioner

“I am so pleased that the beloved St. Gerard’s Church will be moved to a parish with loving families. I came to St. Gerard’s after being in the military and became involved in music ministry, a mission renewal program. I was also in charge of decorating the church for holidays such as Christmas and Easter. I sang the Exalted many times at the Easter Vigil Celebration, and my wife and I were married at this church. I am so pleased that God has softened the hearts of so many and will provide this outstanding architectural structure with a new home. Once again its walls will be filled with music, song, laughter and spiritual growth. Just being able to sit in the choir loft, or anywhere in this building, and look at the architecture—the coffered ceilings and stained glass windows—will emphasize the inspiration of God’s wonderful presence. May God bless all of you in your new house of worship.”

For more information and an opportunity to become a supporter of this project, please go to

Support from Catholic Leaders

Support From Catholic leaders

The Most Reverend Timothy Dolan
Archbishop of New York

“Your plan to dismantle Saint Gerard’s parish church stone-by-stone and transfer all of the interior and exterior of the building material to Georgia so that it can be restructured and continue in use as a Catholic church is a unique and innovative initiative. Inasmuch as the transfer of the building meets with your approval, as well as with that of the Most Reverend Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, and also has the support of the parishes involved, I am delighted to add my own appreciation for what seems a most enlightened approach.”


The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Archbishop of Atlanta

“This endeavor to preserve a beloved church building is a new concept for both the Diocese of Buffalo and the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Moving the Church of St. Gerard from Buffalo, New York, to Norcross, Georgia, will benefit the community in the Atlanta area and we hope it will bring blessings to people in Buffalo as well.

Couples were married in Saint Gerard’s church. They brought their children to be baptized, confirmed and given the Eucharist at St. Gerard’s. They saw their parents and relatives buried from this beloved structure.  It was the site where their sins were forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

We hope that this revered church building can bring such spiritual life once again as the center of a vibrant and growing parish community in Norcross. The new geographical area will be a center for faith, an anchorpiece for the community, and a community noted for its love for art, music and architecture.

This is an unusual idea and a step in faith for the parishioners of Mary Our Queen Parish. It is a bold venture, we pray that it is worthy of pursuing for its own sake, to preserve the past and to press on towards a bright future.

I enthusiastically endorse this new venture on behalf of the parish of Mary Our Queen, along with Bishop Kmiec and his faithful flock.”


The Most Reverend Edward U. Kmiec
Bishop of Buffalo

“As the Bishop of Buffalo, I am happy to bring to this project my personal support. I have heard from many parishioners whose sadness at the closing of the beautiful St. Gerard Church has been turned to joy by the offer to move their beloved church to a new life as a thriving Catholic Church in Atlanta.”

For more information and an opportunity to become a supporter of this project, please go to