Sunday, February 8, 2009

54. Old St. Patrick's Cathedral (Now the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral)

NOTE: In 2015 this church merged with the Church of the Most Precious Blood as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. Both churches will remain open for regular Masses and other events. There is no new combined name for this parish as both churches will continue to be known by their separate names. However, this church is now known as The Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral.

(mass times & church info last updated 03/23/2016)
Address: 263 Mulberry St. (corner of Mott and Prince)
Phone: 212.226.8075
Weekend Mass Times:
Sat: 5:30pm (English)
Sun: 9:15am (English), 10:15am (Chinese), 11:30am (Spanish), 12:45pm (English), 7pm (English)
Weekday Mass Times:
Mon-Sat: 8am (Spanish)
Mon-Fri: 12:10pm (English)
Confession: Sat: 4:30-5:15pm; Sun: 6-6:45pm
Evening Prayers/Vespers: First Sundays: 7pm followed by Mass

Official Website
Architecture Images
About the Organ
New St. Patrick's
The Cathedral Becomes a Basilica

My experience this week was fantastic.

I visited this church remembering somewhere in the recesses of my mind that a scene from The Godfather had been filmed here. And as I sneaked in a little bit late (having had some issue finding the front door - it's on Mott Street, by the way, not Mulberry,) I was pleasantly surprised to hear the priest beginning his Homily by discussing that very scene.

You know the scene: the baptism scene at the end of the film, where Michael Corleone becomes the Godfather to his sister's child, renouncing Satan, all the while a series of mob hits are being carried out under his orders. It's a beautiful juxtaposition of the appearance of good and the reality of evil. The priest mentioned it in relation to the past few Gospels that highlight Satan working to fill our lives with sin.

I know the times my life has been filled with sin - which reminds me I probably need to go to confession again very soon - which also reminds me that I just read about indulgences being offered once again in the Church.

The priest's words about The Godfather were pertinent to me as I have become an uncle to a little girl who will be my Godchild. Over the next couple months before I travel back for the baptism, I need to figure out the duties one must fulfill to be a successful and faithful Godparent in this modern age - a time where religion and faith are slipping through our collective fingers and sin wages a war on us, wearing and tearing us down.

The old Cathedral of St. Patrick is a fantastic church and is decorated beautifully with stained glass and statues everywhere you turn. It seemed large yet it was also cozy and comfortable - not at all like any of my experiences at the current Cathedral. The congregation was a mix of young and old, and everyone seemed attentive and happy to be there - it was a good feeling. It was a mix of simplicity and tradition, history and faith, a classic Catholic church in the middle of SoHo.

I have finally managed to rid myself of the debt that has, for the most part, plagued me since moving to NYC over two and a half years ago. I no longer want to be part of the problem of the economic crisis, no longer wish to to partake in my generation's selfish gluttony or demand for material satisfaction. Is it possible to live simply and humbly in this city with all it's distractions, money and status worship, and pure material greed? Those things seem contagious somehow, and myself highly susceptible to all of it.

With Lent two weeks away I am planning on giving up the boozing again - but only for forty days. It was proposed that I give it up forever. Hmmm. With an indefinite amount of time before me, I have serious doubts I could do this.

Having finished getting my new apartment together I suddenly realized that I've turned my new bedroom into a kind of hermitage.

How many of us have done that, I wonder?

Finding solace in this city away from the city.

Having put up shelves and arranging everything so-so I realize it's become more a workroom than a bedroom.

Arranging my new place, going through old journals, I stumbled upon my final thoughts from Aug-7-2000, when I found myself on a road trip through various U.S. cities:
What have I discovered?
I spend a lot of money.
There are a lot of beggars.
Cities are big.
And merciless.
Souvenirs are always crappy.
Home is where and what you make of it.
I like camping.
Journals are hard to maintain.
I don't miss working.
Has anything changed?

After Mass, I wandered SoHo for awhile taking in the people and the views...


  1. You should also visit the Eastern Catholic group that means in the chapel next to Old St. Patrick's. I forget its name.

  2. Do you think it would be a nice place for a wedding? I like old churches and I'm a low-key, modest gal.

  3. Ps-I've been there, I just wonder what you think.

  4. Anne, I think this would be the perfect place for your wedding. Good luck.

  5. (added some new Mass/Confession times as well as the first Sundays 6:30pm vespers.)
    Thank you Madeleine for the updated information!

  6. Beautiful photos, as always, Andrew. I'm so thankful that you shared your "pilgrimage" through the Catholic churches of Manhattan with all of us. God's peace to you!

  7. My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    Please note that the celebration of Mass is held daily at 12:10 pm in the tiny chapel below the Church on the Mott Street side. Very close and intimate, you will be warmed by the preaching of the good Padres there.

    The Church is very worth a visit!

    Fraternally yours in Christ,

    Denis the Sinner

    PS - Christ is our brother, Andrew and loves you so very much for who you are. He forgives you, He loves you, and with His grace and love, will carry you through all the trials and tribulations of this sinful world, my brother!