NOTE: In 2015 this church closed down and was merged into St. John the Evangelist Church as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. Only St. John's will remain open for regular Masses and other events. This combined parish is called St. John the Evangelist-Our Lady of Peace Church. However, the parishioners of Our Lady of Peace have been working diligently to prevent their church closure and to remain open to continue their mission to save their beautiful and landmarked church. I applaud this effort as this was one of my favorite churches I visited during my journey, one which gave me much peace. If you wish to help the good folks of Our Lady of Peace, you can find out more about their progress here, or sign this petition to help save the church or join their Facebook page.
(church info last updated 03/25/2016)
Address: 237 East 62nd Street (between 2nd & 3rd sts.)
Our Lady of Peace Old Website
New Official Parish Website
About the Organ
Another weird experience in church this week, this time verified by a friend in attendance with me. It was just a strange vibe. I decided to go to Saturday Mass because I felt I needed to go to Confession. As always, I misjudged my time allowance and ended up arriving too late for Confession, but right in time for Mass. This church is small and decorated beautifully. It (seems to me) shares Eastern and Gothic decor - but I may be very wrong. The choir and music were also very beautiful - remember how I spoke of churches sometimes carrying me off into that Narnian feeling? The music here accomplished that verily - there was something medieval about it.
I'm not sure how much wisdom or truth or anything of the sort exists in this blog - it's basically a record I keep for myself of churches visited (as well as Mass times, logistics, etc.) and I use it quite often on the go to determine where nearby churches are and when I can attend. I'm not sure who out there is reading my often mediocre writings and dribblings about my typical NYC existence and the base fact that I attend Mass each week - or my slow journey towards peace. I realize though that the best part of this blog is for me - and it does not happen when writing these entries or uploading any of these photos - it happens each time I enter one of these churches and discover a new place of peace, palace of sanctuary. That is the time that is best - and whatever my writing skills are, they suffer from not being able to detail to you, the virtual reader, what I really felt or went through upon entering and hearing the music; or the emotion I sometimes feel during the Eucharist; or the peace that falls over me towards the end of each Mass. These are the truths and wisdoms and beauties I obtain from this entire experience - and I wish I could somehow share that across this blog all the better than I do.
And I highly suggest you do the same. If you live in the city - visit some of these grand and majestic places (no matter what the actual size.) And if you live elsewhere, visit the different houses of God in your own village, town, city, metropolis, country. Sometimes, if you feel yourself spiritually stagnant - a new place of worship - even for one weekend - is enough to revitalize oneself and help you remember the fundamentals of why you go in the first place.
All that said, I realize over my time going to these various churches (these magnificent places and I love them and they offer me welcome and a kind of sustenance I can't describe) I have missed out on that community aspect of faith - of belonging to a church and a parish and a people. This is an excercise in faith and discovery, and lately I have discovered it is a lonely one. There are so many great places I travel to in this city, up and down the subway lines, through tunnels, trains under water, buses across the cityscape - and so often so many of all these activities are so lonesome. New York is a great city, a friendly city, a magnificent and crazy and wonderful and terrible place. But New York can be a lonely city.