Let’s preserve St. Ann Church by converting it to mausoleum
This is a suggestion for the affordable preservation of St. Ann Church. There is no question that there is a passionate movement to accomplish this goal. The present and former parishioners have a strong affiliation for their native church.
If we were to convert the building to a mausoleum, accepting both caskets and urns, many parishioners, it would seem, would opt for this situation.
It could have a modest start, but as the interments grow, the parishioners, with some help, could gradually commence needed structural repairs. Burial on interment locations could commence in the basement with no structural changes to the building.
As the idea takes hold, interment locations can be located on the first floor with minor structural modifications. Initially, a chair lift could be installed to serve the disabled. As the idea becomes reality, this chair lift can be replaced by an elevator. A retired priest could offer a memorial Mass in the church periodically.
The beauty of this idea is that the jewels of St. Ann’s would be preserved and visible, because the interment would take place in the central part of the nave, leaving fully functional the altar, sanctuary, stations of the cross, creches, stained glass windows and artifacts. Therefore, it can continue to function as before, as a worship space.
Addressing building integrity, as an architect I would strongly recommend coating the exterior structure with gunite concrete, colored to match the existing stone. Thomas Wolfe said that you can’t go home again, but St. Ann’s parishioners and friends do want this to be their final stop in this world.