Sat, Apr eighth 2023 07:00 am
By Michael J. Billoni
Senior Contributing Author
The Knights of Columbus Mary Star of the Sea Council No. 4752 will use proceeds from the current sale of its membership constructing and practically 9 acres of land at 1841 Whitehaven Highway to repurpose, keep and handle the previous St. Stephen’s R.C. “Outdated Church” at 2106 Baseline Highway, the church and council introduced this week.
Earlier than the Grand Island Catholic Membership Corp. may negotiate a 25-year lease at $1 per yr for “The Outdated Church,” St. Stephen’s pastor, the Rev. Raymond G. Corbin, needed to request the Diocese of Buffalo to “decommission” it as a home of worship. When the Most Rev. Michael W. Fisher, bishop of Buffalo, issued the required paperwork to St. Stephen’s, plans started to revitalize the constructing into the house of many Island organizations, similar to Scouting, the Neighbors Basis, and the Knights of Columbus Mary Star of the Sea Council No. 4752.
The little white church, constructed by 40 males of the parish, was accomplished in 1862, and served because the Island’s Roman Catholic church till building started on the adjoining new church in 1999. Corbin mentioned the parish funds wanted to convey and keep the outdated church far outweighed its usefulness for contemporary worship. To save lots of the constructing for the long run, a brand new goal was sought, and the timing coincided with the Knights of Columbus’ have to promote its constructing and land. For the Mary Star of the Sea Council, over the previous decade, upkeep prices and property taxes elevated whereas the constructing’s use decreased – principally due to the practically three-year world coronavirus pandemic.
In response to actual property information obtained by way of the Erie County Clerk’s Workplace, the sale of the Whitehaven Highway property closed March 27. The location was acquired by James J. Panepinto, president of Pinto Building Providers, and a associate. Panepinto, a member of the Mary Star of the Sea Council, mentioned he’s happy to see the funds from the sale go to renovate “The Outdated Church” constructing.
“That church has a particular place in my coronary heart, as a result of that’s the place I married my spouse, Lynn,” he mentioned.
Panepinto additionally mentioned his dad, George, a life-time Islander who continues to be concerned with the household’s 91-years-young Pinto Building Providers enterprise, was among the many many Islanders who volunteered to assist construct the brand new church.
Corbin mentioned he’s extraordinarily happy with the top end result: “Our purpose had at all times been to provide the construction and reminiscences ‘The Outdated Church’ has amongst individuals a future. The constructing will now be given to the group for its use and pleasure.
“It’s really a ‘win-win’ scenario for each the parish and our Grand Island group. The constructing is saved, and its exterior will stay as it’s at the moment, honoring the historic nature of ‘The Outdated Church.’ The inside can be up to date for contemporary use, codes, and handicap accessibility, so it may be used for cultural occasions, productions and gatherings on the Island.”
In response to a launch from the Mary Star of the Sea Council, a gathering of its membership was held final July to clarify its dire monetary circumstances; focus on the scenario; and current the choice of promoting the property, and using the funds to renovate the historic church constructing into a house for the council and different community-based organizations. The membership voted unanimously to promote the property, and voted 37-3 to barter a long-term lease of the constructing with St. Stephen’s.
In change for the $1-per-year, 25-year lease for the constructing, the Grand Island Catholic Membership Corp. will keep, function and renovate the construction for the use and advantage of the group – with the purpose of making a middle for cultural actions within the City of Grand Island.
The primary section of renovations is within the strategy planning stage and embrace the substitute of the roof, an elevator to make all flooring within the constructing wheelchair accessible, accessible relaxation rooms, and refinishing the bottom flooring of the constructing. These renovations will present a everlasting residence for the Neighbors Basis meals pantry, and devoted areas for the Scout troops and Knights of Columbus Mary Star of the Sea Council No. 4752. There may even be a multipurpose room that can be utilized by these organizations and others.
Wealthy Historical past of ‘The Outdated Church’
St. Stephen’s R.C. parish, the oldest and largest congregation on Grand Island, has a distinguished historical past of ministry to its residents. Earlier than “The Outdated Church” was constructed, Mass was celebrated within the residence of William Caroll Sr. Saint John Neumann mentioned Mass for Island Catholics on the outdated sawmill on Whitehaven Highway. In 1847, a touring priest, the Rev. James Boyle, mentioned Mass periodically, whereas additionally visiting Catholic communities in Niagara Falls, Lewiston and Youngstown.
For a few years, Mass was mentioned in several individuals’s properties across the Island. Numbers of parishioners continued to develop and, in 1861, Father Ulhrich, its unique pastor, bought 20 acres of land on the nook of Baseline and Whitehaven roads. Building of the little white church started.
Forty males of the parish gave their labor and lumber with horses and wagons to assist construct the church. “The Outdated Church,” as we all know it at the moment, was accomplished in 1862, for a complete price of $673. The primary sermon was preached in English, then translated into French and German. The overall assortment at its first Sunday Mass was $17.
The church was enlarged, as Island inhabitants grew, in 1948. The rectory, college and convent adopted and, because the inhabitants continued to develop, a brand new, bigger church was wanted. Building started in 1999, and the ultimate price was practically $6 million. The brand new church would seat 1,000 individuals, a far cry from “The Outdated Church,” which sat 125.
Historical past of the Knights of Columbus Mary Star of the Sea Council No. 4752
In 1960, land was bought on Whitehaven Highway and, with donations from membership, what is usually often called The Knights of Columbus Corridor was constructed as a house to the council and quite a few group and household occasions. At the moment, the Grand Island Catholic Membership Corp. was fashioned, and it has owned and operated the ability ever since. Its purpose has at all times been to take care of the ability for the great of the council and the Grand Island group.
The obligatory shutdowns related to the pandemic, coupled with elevated bills, depleted money reserves. The council’s board of administrators acknowledged the scenario had change into unsustainable, and that the sale of the property was inevitable. Nonetheless, in contemplating this inevitability, the board felt it was essential to have a facility the place the Grand Island group’s not-for revenue organizations, such because the Knights, the Neighbors Basis and Scout troops, may use it to hold on their works.
The timing of the St. Stephen’s choice final yr to do one thing with “The Outdated Church” proved to be excellent timing for each organizations.
Frank Burkhart, a member of the Knights of Columbus board of administrators, mentioned, “Whereas we’ve got budgeted to have professionals do the work to switch the roof and assemble the elevator, and have budgeted to buy the supplies to do the remainder of the renovations, we’re going to take a web page from our ancestors, who initially constructed ‘The Outdated Church’ by counting on the identical sense of volunteerism to supply labor to do the remainder of the renovations.
“We wish to difficulty an open invitation to any group member who wish to be a part of revitalizing the constructing to step up and volunteer. If , contact us by emailing [email protected]or by telephone, 716-380-7608.”