Sunday, March 8, 2009

57. St. Joseph Chapel (Now part of St. Peter-Our Lady of the Rosary Parish)

NOTE: In 2015 this church merged with Our Lady of the Rosary Church and the Church of St. Peter as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. All three churches will remain open for regular Masses and other events. This new combined parish is called St. Peter-Our Lady of the Rosary Parish. 

Home of the Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero

(mass times & church info last updated 03/31/2016)
Address: 385 South End Ave.(Gateway Apt.'s,Entrance on Liberty St.)
Phone: 212.466.0131
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sun: 10am, 12pm, 7:30pm (all English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 7:30am, 12:10pm (both English)
Confession: 15 minutes after Mass

Official Website
Death and Resurrection at Ground Zero
Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero
Renovata Studios
Mystery Worshipper
Blessing of the Animals Photos on Flickr
St. Joseph (Chinatown)
St. Joseph (Greenwich Village)
St. Joseph (Yorkville)
St. Joseph of the Holy Family (Harlem)

It is March, the month of St. Joseph, and I have decided to visit the other St. Joseph churches in the city that I have not yet seen. Thus far, I've enjoyed all my experiences at the other St. Joseph parishes, and this was no exception, except for the fact that this little chapel is exceptional.

Hopstop directed me to take the 1 train to Rector St., then north on Greenwich. Greenwich dead ends into Liberty St., at which point I took a left. Following Liberty St., which borders Ground Zero and therefore one of the largest construction sites in the world, lead me through a covered walkway and into the lobby of an office building - One World Financial Center. The man at the information desk pointed me across the street to South End Avenue and shortly I was at the Battery Park City Gateway Apartment Complex searching (somewhat frantically, as I was a few minutes tardy) for the entrance to the chapel.

I eventually found it (it is "on" Liberty Street if one keeps walking onto the sidewalk from Liberty St., westward towards the water and Jersey) and entered a small modern crowded chapel. Standing until a nice gentleman (whose name I believe is John, though I might be mistaken, and who seems to be the organist as well as in charge of a thousand other duties) I felt very welcomed here.

St. Joseph Chapel is part of the parish of St. Peter. This is not just a chapel but a memorial and the icons and artwork on the walls and in the building are absolutely beautiful, calming to take in, and leaves one with peace as they walk out. The chapel was renovated in 2002 after the events of 9/11 left the original damaged beyond repair. The day the towers fell the exterior was covered in dust and ash. The chapel was offered to the emergency workers (police, fire, medical) as a place of respite beginning that day and for the next six months after. All the furniture was moved outside of the chapel to offer places to sit, and was damaged by weather days later. The chapel reopened, renovated and repaired, on September 11, 2002. Unfortunately, I believe the chapel's website is not working, so I shall attempt this poor job of describing what I saw and came away with. (I am taking most of my information from the brochure John handed me.)

To me, the most striking part of the artwork were the statues on the left side of the church, by artist John Collier.

The archangel Michael, St. Florian, St. Joseph and St. Mary Magdalene. Before my visit I had not heard of St. Florian (the patron of fire fighters) and had forgotten Michael was the patron of police officers. The statues are emotional, violent, sad, strong. The artist has captured something here in that they move and act before your eyes and in a heartbeat one feels they know each one of these subjects' stories as well the stories of those who they represent.

There is also a a sculpture of Jesus done by artist Walter Szostalo, without arms, "reminding us that we are to be the arms and hands of the risen Christ in the world today." (from brochure) Below the sculpture is a quote from St. Teresa of Avila...

"Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hand but yours, no feet but yours;
yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion looks out on the world,
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now."

Szostalo also has a colored and carved glass sculpture piece displayed, Swords Into Ploughshares, my second favorite.

Guy Kemper, a returned Peace Corps volunteer, is the artist behind four abstract stained glass panels flanking the chapel doorway. Standing near the altar and looking to the back of the chapel, one is amazed and impressed by the color and feeling these windows emote.

There is also an etched glass wall at the back of the sanctuary by Christopher Cosma... Our Lady of Guadalupe terra-cotta bas-relief by Brett Slavin...

...and an icon of St. John and St. Paul by Sister Cecelia.

Every Catholic living here in New York City, as well as every visiting Catholic, should make a point of stopping by this chapel for either a Mass or service or quick strong prayer.

Some of the sites outside of St. Joseph Chapel...

portion berlin wall
new jersey
statue of liberty


  1. I visit this chapel with my family at Christmas time. The people are friendly, the chapel is comforting, and the works of art are uplifting.

  2. Hey great coverage of this chapel, my wife was on the rebuilding committee that selected the artwork for the chapel. Also thank you for the link to my picture of the animal blessing service. It was also interesting to be at the consecration with Cardinal Egan, the ceremony was fascinating.

  3. From Nancy Chambers
    The Birdlady
    400 Gateway-9J-212-786-9518

    Dear Father Jim
    I have a suggestion that possibly could gracefully defuse the Cordoba Mosque controversy.

    I understand that Archbishop Dolan may try to be of assistance in this matter, and wonder if you could pass my idea along to him. This is something that shouldn't be proposed by any governmental or media source, but rather from either a grassroots or religious basis.

    I've sent the following note, by e-mail, to the Park 51 website:

    Dear folks
    I have an idea for a really beautiful solution to the dilemma that's facing us all right now.
    Let me preface it by saying I'm a non-religious native New Yorker of 67 years old. I am totally behind our Constitution & ALL it stands for. Including the right of everyone to worship, and build houses of worship, in any manner and place of their own choosing.

    As I was watching all this heated rhetoric it occurred to me that perhaps you could consider the idea of a Multi Faith Community Center on your site.

    I'm certain the Catholic, Jewish & Greek Orthodox faiths would not only participate, they'd also donate, and share in the building process.

    The Burlington Building is an eyesore. This could be a community development as well as community unity gesture.

    Please let me know what you think of this idea.
    I'm sure you'd have the entire downtown community behind you, as many of the people I come in contact with every day, right in this neighborhood, agree with me.

    And the national attention would really promote the generosity & peace your religion stands for.

    Thank you for considering this.

    Nancy Chambers
    9/11 survivor (I lost my business)

  4. Hello
    Thank you for your thoughts on St. Joseph's. I am the sculptor of the Magdalene, Florian, Joseph, and Michael sculpture. It is very gratifying to hear that they are still being seen and that you found them moving. If you would care to see other works you may go to
    John Collier

  5. I went into St. Joes every morning to say the rosary while my son was in the womb. Great little chapel. Good memories.

  6. wow...this brings back some memories...i was at this chaplet right after sept. 11th, helping bring supplies in for the firefighters, as it was a rescue/relief center during the cleanup. thanks for the pics...

  7. Beautiful! Great to see it's been renovated and is once again a house of worship. I also was there to serve the workers in November 2001 when the relief center opened. Many prayers were offered and many tears were shed there during those several days I was privileged to serve. My friends and I wept at the Teddy Bear Wall just outside the entrance, and we watched the Leonids meteor showers from the benches along the Hudson. It was there that I met Frank Silecchia, who found the Ground Zero Cross at the WTC site while it was being excavated. St Joseph Chapel will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hope to return to NYC someday to attend a service there.

  8. hello I was wondering if anyone knew their schedule of masses saturday and sunday?

  9. Wonderful local Parish. As noted, Catholic 9/11 Memorial housed here. Attend 7:30 Mass there frequently. May try to close it, so pls attend and support this marvelous Church!!