Saturday, August 23, 2008

39. St. Rose of Lima

(mass times & church info last updated 04/24/2016)
Address: 520 W. 165th St. (between Broadway & Amsterdam)
Phone: 212.568.0091
Weekend Mass Times:
Sat: 7:30pm (English);
Sun: 9am (Spanish), 10:30am (English), 12:30pm (Spanish)
Weekday Mass Times:
Mon-Sat: 9am
Wed, Fri: 7:30pm
Confession: Saturdays at 4pm

Official Website
About the School
St. Rose of Lima


I've been planning on visiting this church for awhile so it was perfect when I discovered today was the Feast of St. Rose of Lima. Later, in my brief research I learned about Rose for the first time: the first canonized saint of the new world, she practiced self-mortification to rob the world, and any suitors, of her great beauty, so that she stay loyal to her one true important love, God. Remarkable! These saints with their excess divinity and extremism. Could any of us today rob ourselves of our worldly virtues in order to be closer to God? No. We say that we have these "gifts" from God that we may use to bring ourselves, and possibly others, closer to God. Yet we are kidding ourselves. Is it perverse how we wish to live in two worlds at once - this temporal limited one and God's limitless heaven? Or is what the young Rose did to herself the perverse act? Robbing the world of something God given? I don't know if what Rose did to herself was right or not, but it was done with the best of intentions... Her world, her inside-her-head own world is so far removed from that of my own, I'm not sure what to think. However, there is great wisdom to be found in both the comment and the quote written on the American Catholic website Saint of the Day, St. Rose of Lima page I linked above:
It is easy to dismiss excessive penances of the saints as the expression of a certain culture or temperament. But a woman wearing a crown of thorns may at least prod our consciences. We enjoy the most comfort-oriented life in human history. We eat too much, drink too much, use a million gadgets, fill our eyes and ears with everything imaginable. Commerce thrives on creating useless needs to spend our money on. It seems that when we have become most like slaves, there is the greatest talk of “freedom.” Are we willing to discipline ourselves in such an atmosphere? (Comment)

“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna” (Matthew 18:8–9). (Quote)
At this morning Mass today I practiced intinction for the first time. It was a Spanish Mass, I didn't understand a word of the Gospel or Homily, but of course I knew what was going on - oh ritual and order how you can sometimes be so comforting! When I go to these Masses in languages I do not understand (but oh I wish I could) I know that I can always take part in at least that one part (aside from the order and song and presence in the Liturgy,) the Eucharist. As the congregation began lining up down the center aisle, I joined them. Briefly looking ahead I realized that not only was the priest only distributing the Host directly to the mouths of the communicants and not placing the Host in their hands, he was as well dipping the bread into the wine and then giving it to them.

A very dear and beloved friend of mine used to call this "dipping the cracker."

That memory brought a brief smile to mind but then the moment brought utter terror and an impulse to retreat immediately to my seat and await the "normal" method of Communion I was used to. But I remained, thinking this thought: I am in the midst of a different culture of Catholic than that which I am used to and I shall practice what is practiced here and partake. I approached the priest, thinking mainly of how I could most accurately stick out my tongue to receive the Sacrament without messing anything up. And when I finally made my way up to the priest I held out my tongue appropriately enough, received the Sacrament and went back to my seat, having received the Lord in that mystical way we believers are lucky and blessed enough to be privy to.

In the end, the intinction method of receiving Communion was no different than the way I usually receive. The only exception was that I was no longer afraid of receiving the Sacrament in this manner. This is a way to bring me closer to God, bring my thoughts and actions closer to what Christ has in mind for my good thoughts and actions.

Reflecting so much on Communion this time around brings to mind articles I've read recently on certain bishops stating to the press that the Church should withhold presenting Communion to Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians because of their public pro-choice stand, and affirmation of abortion. This is one of so many topics that flounders me as a modern Catholic - one I promise to address very soon. My initial feelings are that Catholics everywhere in this country, responsible for incredible sin in their own lives, go to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist every week and the priests and Eucharistic ministers present it to them. If Joe Biden, a devout Catholic, wishes to receive Jesus Chirst in the method and Sacrament which is Catholic Communion, the Holy Eucharist, then no man on earth should be able to take this away from him. Whatever sins he is responsible for in his private and public life should be left to him and God - and no one else. (Perhaps, a priest or bishop's responsibility in this case lies only in talking to Joe Biden deeply about the issues at hand - but nowhere else.)

After Mass, after taking my photos and walking towards the back exit door of the church, I was stopped by an old Hispanic woman who, filled with sweetness and kindness and some kind of passion about something I will never know, stopped me and lead me to a statue of the Mary, Blessed Virgin, and the Annunciation. In Spanish, she went on and on about something - and I know not what - but she was impassioned about whatever it was and I love her for that.

I need to remark on one other thing.

Finding myself in Washington Heights after Mass I contacted my dear friend (the married one from my first church entry.) It was still the morning hour, before noon - we were happy to see each other as jobs and other commitments have kept our hangings out few and far between - and we decided to drink some leftover beers in the fridge, as well as an additional six pack to boot. We got drunk and reminisced and laughed and it was good - this was not a bad drunk, though the time was a bit odd and could be misconstrued - I caught up with my closest friend and something is special about this event which we rarely get to have anymore.

I am not finished with drinking quite yet - it still delivers to me something which I cannot obtain from anywhere else.


  1. My Irish Catholic family grew up in this parish in the 1930's and 1940's. I have never seen the interior before. The representation of the Communion of Saints is quite interesting. This is what my relatives looked at during Mass. It must have made a lasting impression.

    I really love this website. Thanks for doing it!

  2. My grandparents were married in this church in 1914, and my father and his six brothers and sisters were all baptized there. I visited for the first time a month ago. Amazing place.

  3. I went to St. Rose of Lima and graduated in 1950. I lived across the street from the school and was consistently late in morning and back from lunch. Received 1st Communion 1944 and Confirmation in 1945. Loved some of the Nuns and a few I disliked.
    Three of my sisters (siblings) were married in St. Rose's. Was going to attend 50th reunion but never came about. Some classmates, Barry Conroy, John McCan, Walter Geiger, Peter Rivera on and on seventy graduated with me.
    I'm now 75 years old and live in PA.
    Thanks for the photos of church, nothing really changed. Jim Carugan

    1. Hello Jim My brother John also graduated in 1950 I in 1951 (167 st) My mates Tommy Shannon, Billy Larkin, Alan Laughgrin?, Martin Flarerty,Marty Keating, Joe Niland.John Williams Went to Bishop DuBois H.S.Lotta living since then! Thank GOD for St Rose & the Dominicans of Sparkill You may recall my brother John Broderick Im Eddie we had a kid brother Brian and two sisters Maureen & Maud 167 tween Amsterdam & Edgecomb

  4. There is only one English Mass on Sunday. (10:30 am)

  5. I attended St. Rose of Lima School from 1967-1975 when I graduated. I recieved my first Holy Communion on May 3, 1969 and my Confirmation on December of 1973 on this church, the Parish was under the guidance of Monsignor Duffy and the school principle was Sister James Davis. I currently live in Puerto Rico. Beautiful memories of these photos.