Former Catholic Churches Bought by Buddhists

By Marissa Bailey,, March 24, 2009

Buffalo, NY (USA) -- The former St. Agnes and Visitation Churches in Buffalo's Lovejoy district, were purchased Monday by Buddist Monks for $360,000.

Diocesan officials tells 2 On Your Side the buyers found the two properties last year through an online listing with a real estate company in Western New York.

St. Agnes and Visitation churches were consolidated with St. Francis to create the new St. Catherine Drexel parish. The $360,000 will go towards the new parish which includes paying past debts from the former churches.

The Buddhist monk group, the International Sangha Bhiksu Assocation, that bought the properties, tell 2 On Your Side they intend to convert the Church into an International Meditation Center.

The former rectory will be used to house Buddhist monks and ministry.

The former school will be converted into a educational center and academic building. It is unclear when the new operation will be up and running.

A spokesperson for the diocese says there are 31 properties still for sale and that there are quite a few interested buyers.

Since the Diocese of Western New York started the Journey of Faith and Grace church consolidation program in March 2006, almost 2.7 million dollars has been collected from the sale.