Sunday, July 13, 2008

34. St. Elizabeth

(mass times & church info last updated 04/04/2016)
Address: 268 Wadsworth Ave. (@ 187th St.)
Phone: 212.568.8803
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5pm (English), 7:30pm (Spanish)
Sun: 8am (Spanish), 9:30am (English), 11am (Spanish), 12:45pm (English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 9am (English), 12pm (Spanish), 7:30pm (Spanish)
Saturday: 9am (Bilingual Spanish/English)
Sat: 3:45pm-4:45pm, 6:45pm-7:15pm
Official Website
About the Organ
About the School
About St. Elizabeth

I am living a lie.

Before that, my experience at St. Elizabeth's this week:

There are so many great big big churches located uptown. In a way, they are all similar - all seem to have had their heyday a while back, they are massive and are now largely vacant and rundown - at least many of the English services - I can't safely say this is true for the various other language masses offered. I guess I could group them all together like that - but I have to realize that it is amazing they are all there at all. Each with an exterior gorgeousness and a truly beautiful inner soul. And some devout faithful gathering there each week and some everyday to receive the sacraments - that too is beautiful. I may concentrate on these uptown churches for awhile to see what I can come up with there - to see if what I am looking for is concealed somewhere in the cavernous space of these upper Manhattan spiritual treasure coves.

Then there is me and my lie...

My lie is my conceit.
If ever I had cause to think that I was so much more than what I am; and prideful enough to consider myself above others and better than some places and certain lifestyles; or arrogant so much to think myself perfect in ways big and small (the smallest of these instances being much too big,) regarding all my undertakings beyond scrutiny - then I was wrong in the deepest most sincerest way one can be wrong. Wrong without barriers or guidelines. Wrong without constraint.

My lie is my city.
What is this place? The epitome of the modern age and modern America? It's a money pit consumed with itself and everyone coming in (just as the immigrants of yesterday) falls into line quickly enough with it's consumption and their self-consumption. We are full of ourselves as we make fools of ourselves.

My lie is my vices.
I drink because I want to see something more beautiful than what is. And when the drunk is past, and the hangover comes full throttle, or even in the midst of the night before's chaotic celebratory rhetoric - I can still somehow see that I've missed it. Done it all wrong. That there is more to it and I somehow just misstep. Always there is wonderful (disastrous!) escape calling out to me.

My actions towards girls have not always been so favorable either - and I have been wrong each time I've entered into relationships with such sweet beings and held such dark misgivings and harbored such infidelities in the back recesses of my mind or followed through with such immoral actions.

And I have to attempt to morally straighten myself out and pray to God for assistance.

But I wonder sometimes can God too be a vice if taken the wrong way?

My lie is my search.

Where have I been going and what have I been doing? I am lost at a crossroads and no longer know the right path nor remember from which I came. I'm atop a bridge, stuck in the middle, and the decision if I should venture onward or decide to head back escapes me. I am looking under rocks for profundity that can only begin to fit within the depths of the seas or the infinity of the skies.

My lie is my demons.
They prey on me and I know not if they are even there. I am mocked and pitied. Inside of me I see them the next room over and I cannot join them and this too I know not why. I cannot escape them as I cannot escape myself - and this too is my lie.

I am an indigent glutton; a dessicated drunk; a heedless seer.

"...they take and that they take in turn and they give you nothing real for yourself in return and when they've used you and they've broken you and wasted all your money and cast your shell aside and when they've bought you and they've sold you and they've billed you for the pleasure...some people have got no pride they do not understand the Urgency of life..."


  1. This was my childhood church. I lived in the Bronx but spent much time with my grandparents, who lived on 186th Street from the mid 1930's to 1968.

    My father and my aunts went to St. Elizabeth's grammar school. My grandmother was very active in the parish. It was from her I learned that you don't just sit in a pew, to be part of a parish you have to give back. It was a large, busy family oriented neighborhood then and the church reflected that.

    Thanks for this post. :)

  2. St. Elizabeth with my very first grade school as a new immigrant from Cuba in 1961. I've many fond memories of living in the Upper West side of Manhattan....many!