Sunday, December 20, 2009

83. Church of the Resurrection (Now Church of St. Charles Borromeo & Chapel of the Resurrection)

NOTE: In 2015 this church merged with the church of St. Charles Borromeo as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015 and only its chapel now remains open. Both places of worship continue to be open for regular Masses and other events. This new combined parish is called the Church of St. Charles Borromeo & Chapel of the Resurrection.

(mass times & church info last updated 03/31/2016)
Address: 276 W. 151st St. (@ 7th Ave.)
Phone: 212.281.2100
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sun: 10am (English), 12pm (Spanish)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Thursdays: 7pm (Spanish)
Church Constructed: 1907
Official Website
About the Organ

"The Church of the Resurrection was founded in 1907 to serve Catholic residents of Central Harlem, which at that time was predominantly white. A modeset building containing the church, school and rectory was built the next year, opening in 1908. By the 1930s, the demographics of Harlem evolved to include many hispanic and black residents, but it was not until the 1970s that the Rev. Lawrence E. Lucas was named as the first African-American pastor of the church (and one of the first in Harlem). In 2007, this parish was scheduled to be consolidated with the Church of St. Charles Borromeo." (from NYC Ago's website)
Journeying to these churches each week is often a struggle, and there is always doubt in my mind. Entering new places can be for me intimidating, (though exhilarating,) and sometimes along the way I wonder whether if it would be better that day should I just head back home to grab some more (much needed) sleep, or meet up with friends, catch a movie instead... Usually I end up going and I am always grateful I have.

Snow covered the city this morning. En route to the church I stopped by a friend's apartment and forced him to come with. We trudged through the snow and sludge - it was cold - heading southeast toward the Church of the Resurrection. Uptown turns slightly confusing sauntering eastward so we found ourselves delayed. Eventually we arrived.

This is the last uptown church on my list and most likely the last black Catholic church I have to visit. It was strange - I expected more congregation in attendance, but perhaps the snow kept the parishioners away. There were about 20 of us total in the pews, as well as a lively choir - VERY lively considering the frigid temperatures outside. Attending the gospel churches, I realize there is no way to leave here without a smile on my face and warmth deep in my soul - there is so much energy and faith!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

*Fool's Mass

I attended another staging of Dzieci's Fool's Mass recently and was again overcome by its power, humor, sweetness and devotion . It shows, in a very dramatic and humorous manner, precisely how we should encounter and participate in the actions and rituals of the Mass: with excitement, enthusiasm and vigor. It's a lesson about faith and the awe of the faithful.

If you live in this city, you should not miss out on seeing this production.

If you are a Catholic not living in this city who has ever been to Mass and either been elated or confounded by what you experienced there, travel here to NYC this year to see one of these shows. You will not be sorry by what you find there.

Included below is a list of upcoming shows from their website:

Thursday, December 17th, 7:30pm
Union Theological Seminary (in the Lampman Chapel)
3041 Broadway (@121st st)
New York City

Friday, December 18th, 7:30pm
The Old Stone House
336 Third Street (bet. 4th & 5th aves)
Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, December 20th, 11am
The Cell Theatre Company
338 West 23rd Street (@8th Ave)
New York City
*All photos taken from Dzieci website.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

82. St. Mary

(mass times & church info last updated 04/24/2016)
Address: 440 Grand St.
Phone: 212.674.3266
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5pm (English)
Sun: 8:30am (English), 10am (Spanish), 12pm (English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 9am (Bilingual Mass in English, Spanish, some Chinese)
Confession: Sat: 4pm-5pm
Adoration: Tue, Fri: 10am-4pm
Church Constructed: 1831-1832

Official Website
About the Organ
The Lower East Side: St. Mary's Church
The Cult of the Virgin Mary in New York
The Blessed Virgin Mary


What happens to my faith sometimes?

Why do I often have so little?

In other people, in myself, the world. Why do I hold onto these worries, cling to the stress? What do I still need to learn that I've missed thus far?

Why can I not just trust? Give my worries to God? Release and let go?

These churches are further and further away from me. This one took about an hour to travel to today. I almost did not go. Having too much other things going on, too many errands, too much worry and stress, I considered just going to one of the local neighborhood churches (which at this point is either the Frances Xavier Cabrini Chapel, or Church of the Good Shepherd.) Ultimately I decided to head out, and after an hour on the subway made it to St. Mary Church in the Lower East Side.

From St. Mary's website:
"The American nation was not yet 50 years old when on May 14th, 1826, Fr. Hatton Walsh, an Irish Augustinian, stood in the pulpit to face his parishioners in a newly acquired Church on Sheriff Street, in NYC. It was the 3rd Catholic Church in New York...The reason for its establishment was compelling. St. Peter's, on Barclay Street (established 1785), and St. Patrick's Old Cathedral (established 1809), were overflowing.

To accommodate the families now located east of the Bowery, the Rev. John Power, Vicar General of the Diocese, approved the creation of a new parish...On March 27th, 1827, the feast of the Annunciation with Bishop Dubois presiding, the Church was dedicated to the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Historically, St. Mary's was the first Church to be blessed by the Bishop...

Even though St. Mary's ranks third as a parish foundation, it is the oldest, complete church in the Diocese. While the Catholic Churches in Lower New York continued to grow and prosper as more and more Catholics arrived from foreign lands, mostly from Ireland, latent antagonistic feelings - anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant, anti-Irish - were beginning to surface. Protestant propaganda began to arouse people to the "dangerous interests and pretensions of the Roman Catholic Church". St. Mary's was one of the first Catholic Churches to suffer from this bigotry.

On the morning of November 9th, 1831, St. Mary's Church was destroyed by fire. Vandals and saboteurs had broken in, pillaged it, secured the tongue of the bell, started a fire in three places, and burned the church to the ground. Almost everything was destroyed...

Aroused, united and determined, the parishioners of St. Mary's, with many of the outraged non-Catholic friends, mobilized to build a new Church...

On December 31, 1831, St. Mary's was able to purchase property on Grand and Ridge Streets, which became the site of the new and present St. Mary's Church. The cornerstone was laid April 30th, 1832. Soon after the basement was completed (which is now called the Bingo Hall) served as the first parish school for St. Mary's. On December 23rd [1832], a little more than one year after the destruction of the original church, the first mass was celebrated in the basement of the new St. Mary's Church."

It's a bright, white, fairly large church with a very diverse congregation. I was happy to be there on this second Sunday of Advent. I attended the 12pm Mass which turns out is a Family Mass (at least this weekend.) Something about it, and my mood, put me in the most impatient mindset however, and I felt very out of the moment. I hate when this happens. The priest was doing a very good job of describing, in brief, a bit of background about each reading, giving both historical context and narrative detail to each story - which was really interesting, and something I wish I had access to each week. Still, I just felt so out of it. After Mass, I left, my mind on my stress and the things I had to do, unable to leave any of it behind.

Strangely, it was music that helped me today turn my mind to reflect on lighter things through two specific experiences. The first happened, entering the #1 train at 82nd street around 3pm this afternoon, tired from my errands. Our subway car was joined by two mariachi musicians who began jamming immediately upon takeoff. Instantly my mood was lightened, my outlook brightened - how could one be so consumed in gloom in the midst of that always fun, bizarre and spontaneous combustion of live music on a moving subway car?

My heart lifted, exiting the subway at 181st St. I made my way to Holyrood Episcopal Church on 179th St. and Ft. Washington where the Cornerstone Chorale was performing favorite chorale arrangements from their past performances. This is a very good local city choir and always a joy to sit in a cool church on an afternoon being in the presence of their song. Heavy thoughts had been in my head, with heavy worry. As I listened to the performance, my mind was carried away as beautiful composition after composition was presented and the choir's song told the story that the world is not so dark, and that man, in God's presence, under His watchful eye, can create and produce things of great beauty and elicit the purest and best of feelings and emotions from within the soul. Then, the eighth piece was performed and I was struck, unable to control myself, tears welled up in my eyes and a lesson was instilled in me with the rapidity of a flood, a bit of Johannes Brahms Geistliches Lied (sacred song.)

"Do not be sorrowful or regretful; Be
calm, as God has ordained,
and thus my will shall be content.
What do you want to worry
about from day to day?
There is One who stands above all
who gives you, too,
what is yours. Only be steadfast in all you do,
stand firm; what God has decided,
that is and must be the best. Amen."

Later, a line from Maurice Duruflé's Ubi Caritas rung out, true too, to that within:

"Let us love each other sincerely and from the heart."

They ended the day with a Robert Frost poem (Choose Something Like a Star), set in Randall Thompson's composition Frostiana, and within this piece so fully were so much some of my very own considerations and true feelings about God, and this world, and how we humans try so desperately to gain some understanding - sometimes leaning (too heavily!) on science or fact, over feeling and faith. At some point during the middle of this piece things clicked inside me and I understood, briefly,

"O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud-
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light,
Some mystery becomes the proud,
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat,
Say something! And it says, 'I burn,'
But say with what degree of heat,
Talk Farenheit, talk Centigrade,
Use language we can comprehend,
Tell us what elements you blend,
It gives us strangely little aid,
But it does tell something in the end,
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid."

On another note - I think sometimes those few of you readers out there read some of this craziness I write and find it most necessary to pray for me. I ask today, if you are reading this, to offer a special intention and say a prayer of healing for my brother-in-law down in Texas who is very sick. He's the father of two precious little girls, and he's currently in the Intensive Care Unit and needs as many positive thoughts and prayers as possible heading his way.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

81. Our Lady of the Scapular & St. Stephen (CLOSED)

NOTE: In 2015 this church closed down and was merged into the Church of Our Savior and the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. Only Our Savior and the Sacred Hearts Chapel will remain open for regular Masses and other events. This combined parish is now called the Parish of Our Saviour, Saint Stephen and Our Lady of the Scapular, and the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

(church info last updated 03/31/2016)
Address: 151 E. 28th St.
Church Constructed: 1866

Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary (associated Chapel)
About the Organ
NYC Architecture
Sacred Places
Holy Art to God
Will It Ever Be A Landmark? (Gotham Gazette)


This church is deceiving, appearing fairly small from the outside, but upon entering you realize it's big, going on and on beyond the altar which is set more towards the middle of the church. Beyond the altar are a few small chapels, statues and shrines. Good, small quiet places for prayer. The church is well lit, dramatically so, and the many art, paintings and sculpture around the building are highlighted.
"The Church of Our Lady of the Scapular of Mount Carmel was founded in 1889, and was located in a Country Gothic building at 341 East 28th Street. Our Lady of the Scapular was merged into St. Stephen's Church in the 1980s, and the original building was razed. In January 2007, the Archdiocese of New York announced that the Church of the Sacred Hearts of Mary and Jesus, located at 307 East 33rd Street, would be merged into Our Lady of the Scapular-St. Stephen Church." (From's NYC Organ Project webpages)
The Gospel this week was simple and to the point (Luke, 21:25-28, 34-36):
"Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
I need to quiet my own carousing and drunkeness and to prepare for what is to coming.

A friend invited me to one of those expensive midtown bars last night, pricey cocktails, atmosphere, possible celebrities. Couldn't wear jeans, jacket a must. I didn't go. I don't want to dress up anymore. I want to stay uptown, hide up here, grow a beard, pray.

I've been taking great long walks in the mornings and going to daily Mass at a few of the uptown churches. It's a good way for me to begin each day. It calms me. Come 9am, though, it's all very anticlimactic, the world is grim again and there's nothing to look forward to save my job, that lately I dislike so much. I've been looking into career changes, but there is nothing immediate. I realize I am in a position and an industry in which I truly do not belong. I'm a feeling person in a cold pointless position, working, performing tasks that ultimately enable other cold pointless industries to thrive and go on to enable other industries, and so on. For me, its a path to and of nothingness. And I want out. But truly, I'm at a loss, not knowing what to do next.

Still reading The Life You Save May Be Your Own; some of the adventures of those four Catholic pilgrims I relate to so directly:
Merton, in Rome...
"By day he went to churches, over and over. 'And thus without knowing anything about it I became a pilgrim. I was unconsciously and unintentionally visiting the great shrines of Rome, and seeking out their sanctuaries with some of the avidity and desire of a true pilgrim, though not quite for the right reason.'" (33)

Day, in Manhattan...
"She had rented rooms from some friends on Fourteenth Street so as to be near the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where she liked to worship-a small Mexican church between Seventh and Eight avenues, no wider or grander than an old railroad flat." (63)

Merton, in Manhattan...
"His hell was Cambridge, but his Sodom is New York. For him as for Day, Manhattan will be, first of all, a rebel's paradise, a place of sin and temptation, against which he will rebel in turn by becoming religious. And yet for him, as for her, the firsthand experience of New York, of its legendary excesses and waywardness, will lend authority to his renunciation of it. Because he seems to relish the lost life as he describes it, his conversion seems authentic. (73-74)

He went to Sunday Mass at Corpus Christi, a small, bright church off upper Broadway past the Columbia campus...He was surprised by what he saw. The church was full of people, which amazed him. A few pews ahead, a beautiful girl knelt and prayed, oblivious of all else, and her beauty and piety put together amazed him, too...The priest gave the sermon, and it was convincing. It sounded like the word of God. 'For behind those words you felt the full force not only of Scripture but of centuries of a unified and continuous and consistent tradition.' (90-91)

He began a regimen of round-the-clock religious devotion: Sunday Mass at St. Joseph's on Sixth Avenue, weekday Mass at St. Francis of Assisi near Penn Station or Our Lady of Guadalupe on Fourteenth Street, a few hours' reading in the Summa in the Columbia library, followed by the Stations of the Cross at Corpus Christi Church or the Church of Notre Dame on Morningside Drive... (98)

In 1937, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened a museum of medieval art. The Cloisters, as it is called, was like no other museum in America: an odd and remote outpost compounded from the ruins of several disused European monasteries-chapels, cloisters, stained-glass windows-which had been taken apart stone by stone, shipped across the ocean, and put together on a bluff in uptown Manhattan as a New World meta-monastery.

Thomas Merton went to the Cloisters on a date one Sunday the summer after it opened, then returned by himself later in the year. Looking back, he described those visits as the happiest days he spent in New York -happier it seems, than the days he spent in actual churches." (95-96)
Things with my girlfriend are good, despite those fears I experienced out west. There is a strong connection and potential for so much love. She's thinking of moving here next year - a possibility I'm excited for. Not a Catholic, and very much against organized religion (can't much disagree with her there, based on all the very stupid, hypocritical and detrimental acts so many religions are responsible for,) she has a lot of different ideas and thoughts on God than I do. For starters, she doesn't necessarily believe in God, but does admit to believing that there is something greater than us. My first reactive thought is that people are pompous who say they "do not believe in God." Putting more thought into it, and reading Merton's experience, my thought changes to, how pompous of any of us down here to think they know the idea and concept of God so fully.
"In the book [The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy], by his own account, he found a conception of God that he thought plausible and appealing. This God was not a Jehovah or a divine lawgiver, not a plague-sending potentate or a scourge of prophets, not the heavenly Father of Jesus Christ or the stern Judge waiting just past the gate at the end of time, but the vital animating principle of reality - "pure act," being itself or per se, existence in perfection, outside space and time, transcending all human imagery, calmly, steadily, eternally being. 'What a relief it was for me, now,' he recalled, 'to discover not only that no idea of ours, let alone any image, could adequately represent God, but also that we should not allow ourselves to be satisfied with any such knowledge of Him.'" (80-81)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

80. Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary (Now the Parish of Our Saviour, Saint Stephen and Our Lady of the Scapular, and the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary)

NOTE: In 2015 this church merged with two churches: Our Lady of the Scapular & St. Stephen Church and the Church of Our Saviour as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. Only this chapel and Our Savior will remain open for regular Masses and other events. This combined parish is now called the Parish of Our Saviour, Saint Stephen and Our Lady of the Scapular, and the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 

(mass times & church info last updated 03/31/2016)
Address: 325 E. 33rd St.
Phone: 212.213.6027
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sun: 12:45pm, 5:30pm (both English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 12:15pm (English)
Sun: 5pm-5:15pm
Church Constructed: 2009? (forgive me if I'm mistaken)
Official Website
Chapel History
Church of Our Lady of the Scapular & St. Stephen (associated Church)
Congegration of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary

This chapel is so far on the east side, why does anyone live all the way over there?

My thought, as I headed down 33rd this evening towards the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary, and, finally arriving, I looked inside the chapel through it's great south windows, walking closer, peering inside, I witnessed a great congregation gathering for the Sunday 5:30pm Mass. It must happen every Sunday, and it was nice to see a mixed crowd, all ages, various types, lots of different people.

The priest gave a good sermon about living in the moment, living within and being inside each breath you take to be present in the Lord's graces and be in the moment, ready for God. It was direct and to the (and such a good) point. Ironically, I felt very out of the moment this evening. Why are things so off sometimes?


Additionally, there was a special announcement at the end of Mass, and an insert in the bulletin, about the U.S. Catholic Bishop's response to the Heath Care reform that had just passed the House. There are some fundamental sacredness of life issues presently in the bill that conflict with standard Catholic teachings concerning public funding for abortion, and care for the poor and immigrants. As United States Catholics, the Bishops urge us to speak out to our senators, politicians, lawmakers who are also our fellow human beings.

One can go here: to lodge an automatic online request to your senators.


Recently I was in a cafe with a good friend, 0ne of my closest, a fellow Christian who's a protestant. We were speaking about sin and repentance and forgiveness (pretty light, huh?) They told me that even though through their faith they know that when their sins are forgiven by God, they still feel a need to admit aloud what they have done and that they wish their church had something similar to confession as the Catholic church has.

I was struck suddenly by the sweetness of the Church's seven sacraments (specifically Reconciliation) and what it means for Catholics. These are gifts we have as Catholics that simply do not exist in other branches and sects of Christianity, and we (and I mean I here, but perhaps you feel the same) should cease taking these things for granted. We all sin down here, there is no way around - but the fact we are able to walk into the confessional and admit to God's servant our wrongdoings, and be blessed and absolved in person in a very real way, materializes for us the wondrous abstraction that is God's constant and eternal forgiveness of our very real sins.

It has given me a new realization of my Catholic faith and I now, very soon, I gots to get me to a confessional.

I've begun reading Paul Elie's book, The Life You Save May Be Your Own, which focuses on the spiritual pilgrimages of Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy. Thus far I am especially connecting with Dorothy Day's journey, in New York, and her visits to Manhattan churches. This may begin happening in the next few following posts, my sharing excerpts about Day's thoughts on NYC from Elie's book:
"Mornings she would set out on the streets of lower Manhattan...'In all that great city of seven millions, I found no friends, I had no work; I was separated from my fellows. Silence in the midst of city noises oppressed me. My own silence, the feeling that I had no one to talk to overwhelmed me so that my very throat was constricted; my heart was heavy with unuttered thoughts; I wanted to weep my loneliness away...
So it was at dawn, going home, she found herself stopping at St. Joseph's Church on Sixth Avenue, not far from Hell Hole, thinking it inevitable that 'sooner or later I would have to pause in the mad rush of living and remember my first beginning and my last end...'
St. Joseph's is the oldest Catholic church in Manhattan, low and square, with fieldstone walls, high white pillars, and a portico topped by a cross that stands out starkly against the sky. It is a kind of house blend of old and new, of city and country, of Catholic Europe and leatherstocking America...
All her life she had been haunted by God. God was behind her. God loomed before her. Now she felt hounded toward Him, as though toward home; now she longed for an end to the wavering life in which she was caught...
For the time being, she began to pray...'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.'"

(pages 16, 28-29)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

79. Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard

(mass times & church info last updated 03/24/2016)
Address: 328 W. 14th St.
Phone: 212.243.0265
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5pm (English), 6pm (Spanish)
Sun: 9am (Spanish), 10am (English), 11:15am (Spanish), 12:30pm (Spanish), 5:30pm (English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 12:10pm (English), 6pm (Spanish)
Holidays: 9am
Confession: Sat: 4:30pm-5pm
Church Constructed: 1875
Official Website
About the Organ
Flickr Photo 1
Flickr Photo 2
Sunday Tacos at Our Lady of Guadalupe...
Shrine of Guadalupe

"The Roman Catholic Church of St. Bernard was established in a wagon factory located on West 13th Street. The present church was designed by architect Patrick C. Keely and built from 1873-75. Keely also designed the similarly-detailed Church of the Holy Innocents on West 37th Street near Herald Square. St. Bernard has the distinction of being the first church to be dedicated by John Cardinal McCloskey, the first American cardinal.

The parish of
Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe, honoring the patron of the Americas, was founded in 1902 to serve the Spanish-speaking population of New York. A church was created in an existing row house on the north side of West 14th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, in the area once known as Little Spain. The Spanish Baroque facade that includes a rounded pediment and iron porch was designed by Gustave Steinback and added in 1921. As the city's Latin population changed over the years, Our Lady of Guadalupe has served Spaniards, Spanish-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. By the early 2000s, the small church could no longer accomodate the growing Mexican population, and in 2003 the congregation moved to nearby St. Bernard's Church at 330 West 14th, which was renamed Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard's."
The Spiritual Traveler calls the building High Victorian Gothic, a style that uses stone of contrasting colors - though I visited the church at night so really couldn't take in the beauty of the exterior.

This was a great church to visit on All Saints Day as it is filled with art and iconography of a multitude of the saints. I attended the 5:30pm Mass and there was an excellent Indian priest who celebrated. This Mass apparently has no musical accompaniment - even so, the cantor had a beautiful melodic voice, and lead the little bit of congregation there was through a nice mix of hymns.

Staring intently at the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe (an image that is actually found in most if not all New York City churches) I came home and did a little research.

"Guadalupe is strictly the name of a picture, but was extended to the church containing the picture and to the town that grew up around. The word is Spanish Arabic, but in Mexico it may represent certain Aztec sounds...The picture really constitutes Guadalupe. It makes the shrine: it occasions the devotion. It is taken as representing the Immaculate Conception, being the lone figure of the woman with the sun, moon, and star accompaniments of the great apocalyptic sign, and in addition a supporting angel under the crescent. Its tradition is, as the new Breviary lessons declare, "long-standing and constant". Oral and written, Indian and Spanish, the account is unwavering. To a neophyte, fifty five years old, named Juan Diego, who was hurrying down Tepeyac hill to hear Mass in Mexico City, on Saturday, 9 December, 1531, the Blessed Virgin appeared and sent him to Bishop Zumárraga to have a temple built where she stood."
Sometimes when I catch the last Mass of the weekend at some of these churches, the church staff begins turning off the lights and shutting down the building as soon as the celebration is completed. This happened tonight, and once the lights were off I couldn't take all the pictures I wanted. This is a really gorgeous building, clean, well-maintained and bright. (Funny, I feel like I'm relating everything here in real estate terms, due to my current obsession of finding a new place.) It seems like a happy parish too, but I can't exactly say why, just a feeling I got by being there.

As I was leaving I looked up and noticed this painting of The Last Supper on the ceiling of the entrance way. Such a strange location for it about three feet above one's head, but a fun little detail of this church.

Unfortunately, the other thing that sometimes happens when catching these late Sunday Masses is the slow dull onset throughout the day of that Sunday-blues-melancholia culminating in a boiling up of my emotions near the end of Mass. Made all the worse tonight because I have to go back to Greenpoint to reclaim a forgotten credit card. My Saturday night self knows no shame and makes my Sunday day self pay for all of his shenanigans and then some.

Today being All Saints Day, here's a little video I found on the web, Fr. James Martin discussing the saints:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

78. Church of the Immaculate Conception

(mass times & church info last updated 03/23/2016)
Address: 414 E. 14th St.
Phone: 212.254.0200
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 4pm, 5:30pm (both English)
Sun: 8:30am (English), 10am (English, Folk music, Sign Language Interpreted), 11:15am (English, choir), 12:30pm (English), 2pm (Spanish), 5:30pm (English, Young Adult)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 7:15am, 9am, 12:10pm, 5:30pm (all English)
Sat: 8:30am, 12:10pm (both English)
Confession: Sat: 11:30am-12pm, 4:30pm-5:30pm
Mon-Fri: 5:10pm and following the 9am & 12:10pm Masses
Evening Prayer: Mondays 6pm
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Novena: Wednesdays 6pm
Church Constructed: 1896
Official Website
What is the "Immaculate Conception?"


Looking for an apartment in this fucking city is just about one of the craziest, most stressful, sometimes ludicrous, often ridiculous, and unmistakably pain-in-the-ass experiences of one's lifetime and I've found myself in the last 2 weeks doing it for the third time in as many years. It's so hard to tell if the brokers out there are good or bad people, because more often than not, at my financial range, they are hawking shoddy merchandise at unbelievable prices - even in today's "renter's market."

I am an indecisive person by nature, so something like this is drawn out all the more terribly than it already is, and, in my first solo search for a one bedroom dwelling, I find myself torn between two places - the big place up in Inwood, by the parks, with all the trees, kind of old, may or may not have pest problems vs. the smaller, renovated, next to more places (restaurants and stores) apartment in a great part of Washington Heights. Why am I such an uptown guy? Because I am priced out of most of the rest of the island and work north of the city? Probably yes, that's it. Bingo.

And so reaching the brink of my indecision, I call my girlfriend and then my parents, looking for the light. Just talking things through helps so much. Asked for advice, asked for prayers, and received a little peace of mind, mostly knowing I have such good support from both.

Still, I'm weighing the odds, and praying I choose the right place.

Here's what The Spiritual Traveler says about Immaculate Conception Church,

"Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church was built by Grace Church as an Episcopalian chapel and social service center in what was then a poor immigrant neighborhood. Today we see only half of what this complex once was, but it still resembles a medieval urban church, looking after tbe spiritual, educational, and physical needs of its parish. The style of the building is late-Gothic or early-Renaissance French, featuring a bold tower on 14th Street, a church, and a small chapel...The Roman Catholic Church bought this property in 1943. The belief in the Immaculate Conception - that Mary was born without sin - was proclaimed Roman Catholic dogma in 1854."
The Saturday 12:10pm Mass was nice here today, and well attended. This is a peaceful church and there is an outdoor grotto area I spent some time in afterward. Though my mind was preoccupied with my apartment search, this was a calming place to be and prayer came easy.

Unfortunately, this is another New York church covered in scaffolding for the time being, so I was unable to get any shots of the exterior. But within the walls and outside in the grotto were all beautiful enough for an overcast Saturday.

Later on I went to a friend's birthday gathering in a dark basement bar in the financial district, followed by heading to Greenpoint for a Halloween party. I should have just gone home after the financial district. I still can't seem to control myself and continue "finding myself in situations," not knowing how I ended up there. So I wandered around Greenpoint and somehow miraculously made it back home later in the night. Still so reckless and directionless...

An aside, if you're ever in this area visiting this church, two great bars on this street come to mind...


...and the Crocodile Lounge (free pizzas.)