Sunday, January 6, 2008

12. St. Aloysius

NOTE: In 2015 this church was part of a list of churches in danger of merging with other churches or closing altogether as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. This doesn't seem to have happened and this church remains open for regular Masses and other events. If you have any news about this merger or lack thereof please feel free to write in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

(mass times & church info last updated 04/01/2016)
Address: 219 W. 132nd St.
Phone: 917.261.6507
Weekend Mass Times:
Sun: 10:15am (English, Gospel Choir), 12:15pm (Spanish)
Weekday Mass Times:
Tue, Thu: 9am (English, in the chapel)


I walked into this church in Harlem today right on time. I had read about its landmark status, along with that of All Saints church - which I attended a few weeks ago, also a Gospel Mass - and was expecting a large grandiose near-cathedral like church, like that of All Saints. Instead, St. Aloysius is smaller and somewhat quainter - but no less grand.

Please, take the time to look through the above links at the Landmark Designation Commission Report - it does justice in describing what's so special about the architecture. My favorite piece of art in the place was an African Madonna and Child (I hope my ill-suited Blackberry camera does it justice below - but you should go see it for yourself anyway. Though it is a bit faded from the years, it sits right behind where the Choir sings.)

The Gospel Mass was good, though I feel it was missing something the Gospel Mass at All Saints had - even though the church had a more "filled up" feeling. In typical African/Gospel Mass fashion, peace time took a full 5-10 minutes while everyone walked the church shaking hands and delivering well-wishes.

I felt very welcomed here.

Yesterday, I went to a daily mass with Benediction. I was a few minutes late and as I walked in the first reading was just begining. It was from John - Chapter 3, verse 11-21:

This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another...
...Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth...
...for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God."

I feel I spend most of my time trying to be loved by others. I walk past bums and homeless all the time, without flinching, caught up in whatever my iPod is spitting into my ears. And despite what the rest of the world is trying to tell me, about religion spoiling everything and how we'd be better off giving up faith as a waste of time, I know there is something else there that, for some reason, a lot of the world is ignoring and turning away from. Why do they do this? And what is it I feel?

additional photos...

My wonderful girlfriend surprised me this morning by taking me to this church for the 10am Gospel Mass. As always, nice music. Here's some new photos. Not sure why they turned out a little dark and drab. Perhaps this church is not as well lit as some of the others.


  1. Thank you so much for the pictures of the church. I attended the school next door and I sang in the church choir.Thank you. What wonderful memories I have of St. Aloysius.

  2. Looking at your pictures has bought such fond memories of St. Aloysius. I will always remember Fr. Farley, Fr. Pirnard and the Sisters of St. Aloysius. Every time I visit New York now I always stop by the church.St. Aloysius is where I found my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  3. Andrew, your pictures were wonderful. Finding this website has made my Easter Sunday even more special. I attended St. Aloysius for many years as a child in the late 50s with my grandmother and brother. Every Thursday I went to Religious Instruction classes. Someone told me years ago that the church was no longer at the current address. I cannot express the feeling of knowing the church is still there. As an adult, I have moved from New York City but visit often since a large number of family live in Manhattan and Bronx. Thank you again for taking the pictures and your girlfriend for taking you to the 10am mass. On my next visit to NYC I will certainly make a point of going to the church.

  4. Thank you for the wonderful pictures. My grand parents were married in the church on September 9, 1906.....107 years ago!