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One massive leap of faith for shuttered church

   On its face, the proposition seems fantastical: Take a giant church apart, stone by massive stone, then cart all of the pieces some 700 miles and build all over again.

   But that's just what a Catholic parish in Norcross, Ga., is hoping to do with St. Gerard Church, a massive Roman basilica-style church currently at Bailey and Delavan avenues on Buffalo's East Side.

   Someday the church's home address could be somewhere in the 6000 block of The Corners Parkway.

   But to the Rev. David M. Dye, administrator of Mary Our Queen parish in Norcross, about 20 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, the idea doesn't seem so out in left field -- not given
demographic patterns the past several decades.

   "A lot of the sons and daughters of the immigrants who built that church are now in Atlanta," said Dye. "I've got people from Buffalo in my congregation who know the area and know the church."

   There are multiple ways to look at this latest wrinkle in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo's "Journey in Faith & Grace" restructuring effort.

   Some people will view the idea of moving St. Gerard as one creative solution in the area's huge vacant buildings problem. Others will point to it as further symbolism of just how far Buffalo has fallen.

   Feel free to weigh in.

     -- Jay Tokasz

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