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Catholic Diocese closes historic church

The future of landmark Saint Ann's Church remains a mystery today after it was ordered closed by Bishop Edward Kmiec yesterday for safety reasons.

An engineering report found major problems in the building's limestone structure which has been damaged by years of air pollution.

Due to declining numbers, Saint Ann's is no longer an independent congregation, instead it's part of nearby Saint Columba and Brigid Parish.

"They don't have the resources and there's not an expectation they would be able to pay for the significant repairs that will be needed at the church," Diocesan spokesman Kevin Keenan said.

"The Diocese would have a major involvement in any work that's done at that church."

A fence was recently installed around the Northwest tower to prevent  stones from falling upon passersby.

Another engineering study examining repair costs will determine the future of St.Ann's, which opened in 1886. 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.