Weekend Mass Times: Sat: 5:30pm; Sun: 8am, 10am(Spanish), 11:30am, 1pm(French)
Weekday Mass Times: M,W,F: 12pm; Tue/Thur: 9am(Spanish), 12pm; Sat: 12pm
First Fridays: 7:30pm Spanish Mass
Holy Days: 9am(Spanish), 12pm, 7pm(English&French)
Confession: Sat: 4:30pm-5:15pm
Miraculous Medal Novena & Benediction: Mon: After 12pm Mass
Exposition: Thurs: 12:30pm-5:30pm
St. Gregory the Great School
About St. Gregory the Great
Upper West Side Developments
There are strangers out there praying for me.
I must wonder if this is the sort of thing I had in mind when I began this blog?
All it was really was this sense that there were these 96 Catholic churches out there just waiting for me to walk inside of and I felt the need to register this act in some way - to record it. I did think about keeping a journal - but that process seemed somewhat internalized. I thought it better to begin a blog (something I knew very little of at the time.) Really it was just going to be info on the church and maybe a few random thoughts of mine from that week. Then when I got to the first church I thought I had surely better take a photo with my phone because there is just so much artwork and I need to do something further to remember the experience. Then I began writing and stuff just kind of came out - really now that I think of it hasn't this all been some kind of long confession? The blog title might just as well be Reconciliation - A Young Man's Turmoil in Discovering 96 Houses of God.
So I've confessed - my sins, my human nature, my drinking, my women, to myself, to my God, to the priests at some of these very churches. And has it mattered - have any of these confessions been worthwhile? No they have not. For some reason I cannot let go my sins. I'm not saying I was always continually committing them - but that in spite of the priests' absolutions and the knowledge of God's forgiveness, I wasn't forgiving myself of some of these things, I was holding onto the sins quite possibly because I felt I had little else to hold on to.
What a disaster of the human consciousness! To grasp something detrimental because there is nothing else within reach. Of course, there is always Something within reach, often closer than we think. So why do we fall? Why do we we fall so far below that which we are to be, into the very pits of hell, into the very depths of the unknown darkness. The dark, unseen, yet so much easier to reach for than at the light which absolutely calls to us - and we are blind and deaf and ignorant.
I write this blog and I go to these churches because, as Drusilla pointed out to me, God is tugging at me. He's actually screaming at me, lassoing me, throwing rocks nightly at my window, IMing me with "High Importance" messages, leaving voicemails, sending texts, shaking me awake and a bunch of other things. And I'm here and sometimes I listen. God is that strong force with the wee voice in the very back of my head which I learned once to listen to, always, but thusly learned that it's so very hard to hear.
Fallen Sparrow's blog is what I meant this blog to be if only I was a better writer, researcher and soul. Thank you again, Fallen Sparrow, for your words and yours, Dawn Reader - I'm not sure when you first came across my ramblings, or when your prayers started, but they began working right off, I daresay. (By the way, the Memorare is one of my very favorite prayers and I say it at least once daily - and when I do say it I am always reminded of a green field in Kentucky when I first prayed it with such intensity and so very real intentions.)
In that time between my first Memorare (first real one, anyway) and yours', many prayers have been answered and many more have been prayed. Lately these days inside a church, or sitting somewhere else, I ask three things of God, consistently, and that these things be answered if it be His will. That my monsters cease tormenting me; that if there is a woman out there for me I may find her and treat her well and be faithful and good and devoted and kind; and for God to point me in the direction He requires of me, and set me in a place I know that I am serving his will, and doing some kind of good.
For now at least it seems as if the second prayer has been answered.
She is different than the others and I am different for knowing her and wanting to be true to her. She is sweet and seemingly all the good things I have sought after. What am I to her, what will I be?
A few weeks ago I finally fell free of my sins from before, releasing them to God as we should all learn to do. I gave them up. Along with my sins I gave away those portions of my past I have so desperately and mistakenly clung to. I have now repented and now no longer wish to look back at my past with any sort of yearning - that too is some kind of sin.
For now I will only look forward - to some kind of path, some kind of life, some kind of good doing. I will begin to look forward towards her. And I will look forward always to God.
I apologize to all those still reading any of this who are interested in actual information about St. Gregory's as opposed to my silly ramblings - which have gone on long enough, don't you think?
This is a nice first floor/basement church with a school building sitting atop it. The ceiling is flat and you do not find the majesty of the vaulted high ceilings you find in other churches, but you do find a wonderful mural of many saints on the wall behind the altar. The priest this Sunday (and I apologize I do not know who it was,) an older gentleman, spoke solidly and talked about Ingrid Betancourt - what a brave woman was she.
The singing of the choir was enchanting - again something medieval and/or Narnian about it. The song which caught the bulk of my attention was My Soul in Stillness Waits. Something about the tune and the tone always grabs me - it's serious, and mystic.
I sat near the stained glass of the right side of the building, occasionally looking up at The Last Supper, not noticing Judas slinking away into the dark - and then he was all that I noticed.
I felt better at this church than I have felt at any of these churches in a long time. Perhaps it was the prospect of some new life I see before me. Because we bless ourselves with holy water upon entering and exiting the church each week at Mass, and celebrate the Eucharist and go through Jesus' life and resurrection - isn't this the way we should leave Mass every week - a prospect of some new kind of life?
But this week I feel it stronger than perhaps how I should feel it each week. I feel relieved - and blessed - and happy - and strong - and faithful.
But life is hard and I know that in the past I have been a wreck, and perhaps wrecked others. Even though I feel a change coming on does not mean that I won't simply slip back into the habits of my old ways - I know that this is all but certain to happen - and I hate that, and I don't know if I am prepared. I am surely to fall along the way.
And when I do fall, and oh I will fall so badly, I will feel myself forced in the very least to record it here, for you my brothers and sisters to read and to see and to witness - as God above witnesses. And in the meantime, please, if you will, keep up your prayers for me, as I desperately am in need, as I attempt this existence, as I wander from church to church still seeking that which I do not yet find within, in this great and terrible place, chaos mounting in other lands, and I, here, endeavoring to calm the chaos of my heart to bring stillness to my soul that I may pass it on to others. This is it, this is what will happen, this is what I have.
Good or bad this is my New York, my experience, my life, my love, my God.
My Soul In Stillness Waits, by Marty Haugen
For you, O lord, my soul in stillness waits. Truly my hope is in you.
O Lord of Light, our only hope of glory, your radiance shines in all who look to you. Come light the hearts of all in dark and shadow.
O Spring of Joy, rain down upon our spirits. Our thirsty hearts are yearning for your Word. Come, make us whole; be comfort to our hearts.
O Root of Life, implant your seed within us, and in your advent draw us all to you, our hope reborn in dying and in rising.
O Key of Knowledge, guide us in our pilgrimage, We ever seek, yet unfulfilled remain. Open to us the pathway of your peace.
Come, let us bow before the God who made us. Let every heart be opened to the Lord, for we are all the people of his hand.
Here we shall meet the makers of the heavens, creator of the mountains and the seas, Lord of the stars and present to us now.
For you, O lord, my soul in stillness waits. Truly my hope is in you.