Push for new stadium should give us pause
Once again, NFL owners are pressuring the Pegulas, and our community, to build a new stadium for the Bills. The question will undoubtedly be asked: If the stadium is built, who pays the bill? Taxpayers? The Pegulas? The other NFL owners who will profit from an increased revenue stream?
Since the story surfaced as Christians are entering their highest holy days, here is something to think about. In the 1920s, Offerman Stadium, a state-of-the-art baseball stadium with “new amenities unknown to Bisons fans,” was built for $265,000. The most expensive church built in the Diocese of Buffalo that decade, Our Lady of Victory Basilica, was constructed for $3.2 million.
Fast forward to the 2010s. The most expensive new church in the diocese this decade, St. Mary’s in Swormville, cost $6 million. The bill for renovations – not construction – to Ralph Wilson Stadium was $130 million.
In my parents’ lifetime, we have gone from spending 12 times as much on new churches as we do on stadiums, to spending 22 times as much on stadium renovations as we do on churches. And lest one object to using a baseball stadium for comparison, War Memorial Stadium was built in the 1930s for $3 million, which was still less than the cost of the basilica.
Imagine the outcry if the diocese built a church today for $130 million. Or if the Bills were told they had just $6 million to build a new stadium.
It makes one wonder, what are our true worship sites?
Rev. William “Jud” Weiksnar, ofm
St. Patrick Friary