Saturday, August 16, 2008

37. St. Cecilia (Now St. Cecilia Parish)

NOTE: In 2015 the Church of the Holy Agony closed down and was merged into St. Cecilia Church as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. Only St. Cecilia's will remain open for regular Masses and other events. This combined parish is called St. Cecilia Parish.

(mass times & church info last updated 03/20/2016)
Address: 120 E. 106th (Between Lexington & Park)
Phone: 212.534.1350
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5:30pm (English)
Sun: 8am (Spanish), 9:45am (English), 11am (Spanish)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon, Tue, Thu: 8:15am (Bilingual Spanish/English)
Fri: 8:15am (Bilingual Celebration Spanish/English)
Sat: 12:10pm (Bilingual Spanish/English)
Confession: Sat: 4pm-5pm
Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help: Wed: 8:15am (Spanish), 7:30pm (English)
Official Website
Harlem One Stop
St. Cecilia
Hymn to St. Cecilia
St. Cecilia Chorus & Orchestra of New York


I decided to wander into this church for daily mass today. Upon entering I found the church to be completely empty. You know that great feeling of being in a church all by yourself - you are allowed to take everything in and there is something deep and personal about the whole thing. A peace washed over me. Then confusion... Wasn't there supposed to be a 12:10pm mass? I walked out the front doors and met a kindly older woman who told me to follow her into the side chapel. We celebrated mass in a tiny chapel on the right side of the church - this too was deep and personal - the priest gave a really good talk, the few gathered there seemed so happy to be there, and the prayer was good.

We walked into the mass during the first reading and these lines struck me immediately (from Ezekiel Chapter 18):
If a man is virtuous—if he does what is right and just,
if he does not eat on the mountains,
nor raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel;
if he does not defile his neighbor’s wife,
nor have relations with a woman in her menstrual period;
if he oppresses no one,
gives back the pledge received for a debt,
commits no robbery;
if he gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked;
if he does not lend at interest nor exact usury;
if he holds off from evildoing,
judges fairly between a man and his opponent;
if he lives by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances,
that man is virtuous—he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD.
This verse speaks louder to me today than usual as I look to the new life I wish to lead, the one I began speaking about in my last entry. I pray that I may be a virtuous man, one who may walk more upright each day than he did the day before.

A couple weeks ago I was told (and maybe it's an Italian thing, or maybe Irish, or maybe Phillippino) that each time you enter a new church you have never been in before you are allowed to ask three wishes to be granted. I was not told who the granter of the wishes is supposed to be, I assume it must be God - but this is something I had never heard before. To think of all the new churches I have been and all the wishes I have lost by never asking! 36x3= 108! And to think I forgot all about this idea today as I entered St. Cecilia for the first time - that's 111!. Hopefully I will remember this the next time I go into a new church. I figure that asking for these wishes is a little bit different than just saying three prayers each time one goes to church. Although I forgot about the wishes, I did add a new prayer today - I prayed for my unborn Godchild, that he grow strong and have a healthy birth. My sister is pregnant and has informed me that she will ask me to be the Godfather. I am looking forward to this but it was only today that I realized I could go ahead and begin being a good Godfather right away, through prayer.


  1. How lovely your musings are and what a lucky Godchild to have such a prayerful Godfather. Blessings to you both!

  2. This is a beautiful church from the outside. But, I can't figure out how to enter. It is locked up in front, so entry may be through the back (rectory?) on 105th street. Not sure. (2013) P.S., thank you for your blog and all the work you've done.

  3. does anyone know their fax number?