Sunday, August 17, 2008

38. Church of the Holy Innocents

(mass times & church info last updated 03/20/2016)
Address: 128 W. 37th St. (between Broadway & 7th Ave.)
Phone: 212.279.5861
Weekend Mass Times:
Sat: 4pm (English)
Sun: 10:30am (Latin), 12:30pm (English)
1st Sunday: 1:35pm (Spanish)
Weekday Mass Times:
M-F: 7:30am, 12:15pm, 1:15pm (all 3 English), 6pm (Latin)
M-F: 8am (Latin Mass during Lent)
Sat: 1pm (Latin)
Traditional Latin Mass:
Sun: 10:30am
Weekdays: 6pm (on Civic Holidays at 1:15pm)
Sat: 1pm
Fri: 12pm-2pm (English & Spanish)
1st Friday: 5:30pm-6pm (before Latin Mass), 7pm-8pm (during overnight vigil)
Sat: 12:30pm-1pm (before Latin Mass), 3:30pm-4pm (before English Mass)
Sun: 9:30am-10:30pm (before Latin Mass), 12pm-12:30pm (before English Mass)
Tue-Thurs: 12pm
Weekdays after the 1:15pm Mass
Weekdays at 5:45pm
Divine Mercy Chaplet:
Weekdays: 3pm
Fri: 5:15pm, 5:40pm
Stations of the Cross (during Lent):
Fri: 12:45pm
Liturgy of the Hours: Midday Prayer
Mon & Fri 12:05pm

Official Website
About the Organ
Flickr - great photo
Photo From A Catholic Life
A blog entry about the shrine
New York Times article
What are the Holy Innocents?

This is one of those midtown churches which must be hustling and bustling during the week based on the number of daily masses they have, but which is a lot quieter on the weekend. There was somewhere between 10-20 of us gathered for this Sunday noon mass. I, of course, found it a wonderful experience to be there. There is much art and many statues - all of which are dramatically lit and it's really easy to take good photos here. The lighting of the whole church is a little bit dark - but not utterly dark. It's easy to pray here, it's easy to sit and to linger - a nice place.

There is a shrine to the souls of the unborn that was dedicated in 1993 on the Feast of the Holy Innocents - a book encased by the shrine includes names of unborn children who died of miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion. There are many paintings and statues of the Holy Family. There was no music at the Mass, which was strange - I'm not sure if there is any during the week.

Since this does seem to be a heavy commuter church, I highly suggest it to you if you work around this area and desire to go to Mass in the middle of the work day - I wish I could.

If this is a story, if it's my story (even if it's a crummy story, badly told,) then isn't it about time the first act ends and the second begins? You've had all the character introduction you can stand, huh? Young man, lost wandering around the cityscape, haunted by his demons, unable to let go the past, desperate, out of control, misplacing his hope in the rest of the world and certainly without any in himself. A troubled soul, a certain anti-hero, or at least wannabe-hero. The next character: the city itself, dreadful and magnificent all at once, rising above our wannabe, looming above him, casting down its shadow and its dark upon him. Then God, the true hero, in the form of all these churches, these holy places, this stone and mortar and brick and wood and glass, calling out to him, louder and louder and never ceasing.

And there will be times of great mundanity and cliche, like when our wannabe, in quite a base storyline, wanders into a church office and speaks to (the next character) a spiritual advisor about the possibilities of the priesthood, the diaconate, or theology school. He feels a calling but wonders can he sacrifice certain material aspects of his life for God? The answer should certainly be, why the hell not? Yet in him, just as cliche, is another calling, something strong he cannot easily ignore - a girl somewhere down the road, and the semblance of a normal life (let's face it, an extremely normal life.) It would be a whole lot simpler if this second calling never came to surface, if the young man could just wholly throw himself into the first, enter a novitiate, find the sanctuary and the sanctity within, be done with the rest of the world and in five years come out a priest, a holy man, a collared worker of God. But, that's not the way, not yet anyhow - he believes, for the moment, not ever.

And almost just as soon as he has deciphered some meaning that though the priesthood may seem a simpler course he cannot go that route, he for once, falls in with the right crowd and in this right crowd there is, of course, a girl (enter a new character, better than he, less flawed) perhaps the right girl and then his mind has really begun spinning. And she is sweet and devout and good - all the things he desires in someone and all the things he wants in himself and all those things he aspires to be with.

And she accepts him, and already knows many of his flaws and (he hopes) she'll stick around to learn more and accept those or that he will let her stick around to learn more, not push her away or cause things to end badly. And he wants her to stick around, he wants to want her to stick around because man was not meant to be alone and lost and wandering forever. And he hopes (and prays!) that this is all just the beginning of something new for him, for them - something good and whole that they can make much more from. Because while the world falls around him, he knows he can't do much for the rest of it, for anyone, until he steadies himself, gains his own balance and can set out again, with some kind of plan and direction and hope. Not the kind of external hope that someone else promises you from great distances, but the internal kind that springs forth from somewhere deep within, the kind that has been there from the beginning, though buried deeply all too often and rarely emerging. The kind from God, that he delivered to you on the day you were born, cultivates within and then watches spring forth something beautiful when you finally begin to achieve all that you were meant for.

This is my hope and my prayer.


  1. I work in the fashion industry and I always pass this church. This morning I had some extra time before an appt. and I came here to say a few prayers and just get some peace. It is a beautiful church and there was quite a lot of people there praying. Next time I am in market I'm coming early to go to a mass.

  2. Please update the Mass Schedule Thank you

    Traditional Latin Masses
    Sunday 10AM High Mass
    Weekdays 6PM preceded by Benediction
    High Mass Wednesdays, Fridays and Solemnities 6PM
    Saturdays 1PM

  3. I have found much solace praying in this church. I work in the area and have always looked to this church for all my Ash Wed's as well as holy days of obligations. I didn't realize how much I needed praying in church (aside from Sun mass) until I experienced two miscarriages two years in a row. It seemed like fate to have Holy Innocents so near by for comfort and consolation.

    I'm blessed now with a 3 months old boy who is the love of my life. I truly appreciate the amazing miracle of carrying a child and although my first two babies are no longer with me, I am thankful for Holy Innocents giving them honor and peaceful eternal rest.