Sunday, January 11, 2009

52. Holy Trinity Church

(mass times & church info last updated 03/20/2016)
Address: 213 W. 82nd (between Broadway & Amsterdam)
Phone: 212.787.0634
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5:30pm (English organ & cantor)
Sun: 7:30am (English), 9:30am (English organ & cantor), 11:15am (English choir), 12:30pm (Spanish), 5:30pm (English contemporary)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 9am, 5:30pm (both English)
Thu: 7pm (Spanish)
Confession: Weekdays: 5pm-5:30pm
Nocturnal Adoration: Last Saturdays after the 5:30pm Mass (in church)
Official Website
Medieval New York
About the Organ
The Blessed Trinity


"Dating back to 1898, the Holy Trinity Church of New York City's Upper West Side...[is] one of the finest examples of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture in New York City, the Church was loosely based on the Hagia Sophia of Istanbul, Turkey. Stunning architecture makes this one of New York's most extraordinary churches. "
- Found on the Nile Guide website

I attended Holy Trinity with my old roommate who I have not seen all that much recently - a trend I've noticed with other friends lately as well. As we all grow older and apart and into marriages and relationships and careers and mundanities it seems we find less and less time to spend with one another. At least though, for today, we managed to go to Mass and then have brunch at the Emerald Inn.

One thing that spoke to me during Mass was the first reading, (Isaiah 55:1-11):

"Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life...

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it."

As I look into my finances of the past year and reflect on what junk I have bought up with what little money I have to begin with, and what little value it all has on a spiritual level, I wonder why have I done it all to begin with - filling my place and my room and my life with perverse items (ranging from any of Ikea's disintegrating particle&dust-made items we've purchased to an ongoing series of overindulging restaurants experiences and bar-hops.) Nothing in line whatsoever with what I want my life to be, somehow lead by and to the Divine.

The music played at the 12:30pm Mass was outstanding. I can think of no better word to describe the song played during the offertory than trippy. Beautiful, to be sure, and otherworldly and mystical, as well - but it was also just plain trippy. As I knelt there in the pews of this extraordinary church, my mind carried off into the cosmos as well into the most inner chambers of my soul - and what I saw in both places was the same.

A lot of that, BS to be sure, but the point being is that this church in it's design and concert helped my experience this week to view the Almighty and my life in quite a different way than I have before. Go visit this place and have your own experience.

"...Oh when I got it I just spend it, If I save it, then I get fat, And I don't really want to change it, 'Cause I like it just like that..."

-Bobby Conn

Sunday, January 4, 2009

51. Our Lady Queen of Martyrs

(mass times & church info last updated 03/31/2016)
Address: 91 Arden St.
Phone: 212.567.2637
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 6:30pm (Spanish)
Sun: 8:30am (English), 10am (Spanish), 11:30am (Spanish), 1pm (English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 7:30pm (Spanish)
Confession: Sat: 4pm-5pm
Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School
The Cult of the Virgin Mary in NYC


With audacity and change in the air this upcoming year, I brave the city again (traffic, weather, the bezigness of life) to visit the rest of the NYC Roman Catholic churches. Will I complete this quest before year's end? I want to see them all and continue this experience. Some call me "church-hopper" or indecisive. Really, I am thirsty and, as of now, unfulfilled - and I journey onward praying to find that which I am looking for or to have my eyes opened to discover I have already found it.

Having finished my own move, I have now helped my girlfriend move into her own new place in the wonderful neighborhood of "Little Haifa" up in the 180's, meeting most of her family in the process. I have to say I like them quite a lot. My roommate and I were talking last night how there is typically a direct inverse correlation between how much you like a girl and how well you get along with her parents. This specific situation appears to be the exception to the rule as I like her quite a bit and got along splendidly with her mom and dad. The entire family is very sweet and if I allow my mind to wander too far into the future I catch glimpses of asking her to be part of my family and can see myself fitting easily within her own.

She and I visited Queen of Martyrs this weekend as we were interested in finding some of the churches around her neighborhood (which of the churches I've already visited include St. Elizabeth, and Church of the Incarnation.)

It's another smaller basement church found below a school. I've been to several but I think it's one of her firsts and she remarked to me how even though it wasn't as "exceptional" in architectural design or decor as some others out there in the city, it is beautiful in other ways - the readings and sermon were real and tangible, and there is a certain spirit and sense of community one feels when being here.

During the Mass, a man came and sat behind us, a man with a deep gravelly voice, a loud voice, unafraid of singing and at first this voice distracted me, taking me away from my "experience" until I realized this voice was part of that experience. I began thinking what if this is the voice of God, always there but seldom listened to? What if, for the first time, I was finally hearing it? I believe the priest then told the story, a story I have since heard again from the unlikeliest of sources, of the monks at a monastery who receive a visitor who tells them the Messiah is among them - and the monks soon act differently towards each other and themselves, a heightening respect and admiration for all. It all made me think of how when I exit this church I need to, in the realest sense, walk out with the voice of God with me and the respect for all whom I encounter.

The Mass ended and my girlfriend and I eventually walked out into the brightness of the cold January day hand in hand - this thought with me then as it is now.