Sunday, March 29, 2009

58. St. Joseph Church (Chinatown) (CLOSED)

NOTE: In 2015 this church (which had previously merged with the church of St. James in 2014) closed down and was merged into the Church of the Transfiguration as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. Only Transfiguration will remain open for regular Masses and other events. This combined parish is called Parish of Transfiguration and of St. James/St. Joseph. 

(church info last updated 04/07/2016)
Address: 5 Monroe St. (between Catherine St. & Market St.)
Phone: 212.267.8376

New Official Parish Website
New York's Underground Chinese Church
St. Joseph Church Blog
St. Joseph School
St. Joseph (Battery Park City)
St. Joseph (Greenwich Village)
St. Joseph (Yorkville)
St. Joseph of the Holy Family (Harlem)

bubble tea
st. joseph, pray for me

Statue of the Virgin Mary in car window

Additional photos...

It seems there may be some very unjust things going on at the schools/parishes of St. Joseph and St. James - if you read the below comments from Cacique and Anonymous, you'll get a better understanding. I am going to embed here a video link from the comment below so it can be viewed on this page. Anyone out there reading this, please pray for the right and best outcome for these schools. School and parish mergers and administrative dismissals are rarely a happy ending for many involved, and though I have no personal knowledge of Sr. Deborah Lopez, from the below comments she seems like a good principal and school administrator. My prayers go out to these parishes, schools and their parishioners and students...



  1. To All Involved,
    It’s with extremely sad disappointment that my family receives news of the impending dismissal of Sr. Deborah Lopez as Principal of Saint Joseph School.

    We remember 3 years ago when faced with the choice of enrolling our then 3 year old daughter in Saint James or Saint Joseph; it was Sr. Deborah’s commitment to safety, discipline, and academic achievement that made Saint Joseph the clear and only choice for us.

    Through out the three years of enrollment in Saint Joseph, our daughter has developed a tremendous sense of respect and appreciation for Sr. Deborah. But more importantly, we like Sr. Deborah ’s strong and even handed approach to educating and caring.

    We are certain our sentiments are in line with those of the remaining the student body and their parents.

    When compared to the rambunctious environment we encountered in Saint James, with its students run amok through out the school; Sr. Deborah is a clear asset to Saint Joseph which brings peace to our minds. At the start and at the end of every school day, her ever so watchful presence is there meeting and greeting parents. This is something we do not want to lose.

    So in closing, it is our hope you reconsider, what appears to be, the eminent dismissal and replacement of Sr. Deborah Lopez and her staff.


    A concerned parent

  2. To All Involved,

    As the days go by, in what’s quickly becoming a gross exercise in unfairness and inconsideration, I’m getting all sorts of puzzling and fundamentally incoherent reasons that seemingly justify the change in leadership in Saint Joseph.

    I’d like to get a response on the following issues:

    Sr. Deborah Lopez has been at the helm of Saint Joseph for a considerable period of time. Since her tenure, Saint Joseph has operated more efficiently than to Saint James, both academically and financially. If this is so, why then remove a seemingly successful administrator from, at the very least, overseeing the merge of the two schools?

    Saint James has negotiated a few concessions from Saint Joseph which include longer school hours and lower tuition - exclusive to Saint James’ students. Of course this means the existing children of Saint Joseph will be short changed and, in a sense, subsidize those of Saint James. Why is Saint Joseph adopting the failed policies of Saint James? Policies that, as my understanding on the matter is, caused the predicament they’re in?

    In this day and age where The Catholic Church as a whole is being rocked with all sorts of charges, accusations, and scandals, some too disturbing to discuss within the context of our issue; how could Saint Joseph allow the accusations of racism levied against Sr. Deborah Lopez by a group of parents not affiliated with Saint Joseph go unchallenged or unanswered? Have these parents ever interacted with Sr. Lopez?

    Ironically, it seems that the administrating body of Saint Joseph, in an effort to appease and cater to an incoming student body, has turned its back on the wishes of the academically thriving, multi-cultural student body fostered by Sr. Debora Lopez and her entire staff.

    This is not boding well for the administrators of Saint Joseph who seem to be ignoring basic economics, the basics for successful academics, and the basics of caring for their students.

    Once again, I appeal to your common sense and please keep Sr. Deborah Lopez and her staff firmly in place at Saint Joseph.
    Yours Truly,

    A concerned parent

  3. YouTube video of today's rally outside St. Joseph School. If link does not work just search St. Joseph School NYC rally

  4. Hello Cacique and Anonymous, I am sorry for what is happening at your school/church, I hope and will pray for the best for the school community as well as the children who attend. Just FYI - the following are the official St. Joseph church and school websites where you may also wish to post your (valid) concerns, comments, links, etc.:

    St. Joseph:



    School blog:

  5. We are still rallying at St. Joseph's School in Lower Manhattan to keep the order of sisters that have been a crucial component of the school and neighborhood for 85 years. Ultimately, this rally is for the students as their worlds are being turned upside down with the loss of many of their teachers and now the nuns in the school.

    I tried embedding the video from today's rally (April 13) but was not successful. Please follow the link below to view the video.

  6. Andrew - thank you for allowing my posts on your website. I'm happy to report that we, the parents of Saint Joseph, appear to be making some progress. The Superintendent of The Archdiocese's schools seems to be willing to engage with us and has scheduled a sit-down with a selective group of serious parents which are at the root of the protest against the proposed changes at the school. So in short I want to thank you for your prayers and all that you've allowed on your blog.

    Thank you


  7. To All Involved,

    It seems that The Archdiocese is shocked, surprised, and paying closer attention to the parents of Saint Joseph. The word is all of Saint Joseph’s private donors have pulled their donations which collectively amount to several thousands (if not millions) of dollars. Many of these donors are current parishioners, former students, and other business leaders from very profitable industries. Many of these donors have let their dissatisfaction be known to the higher ups in The Archdiocese and as a result questions are being asked. Many of these questions are the same questions we, the parents, have asked since the beginning of this administrative coup-d’état.

    Why The Archdiocese and The School’s Superintendent is proceeding with the dismissal of Sr. Deborah, in spite of the fact that there’s tremendous support for her? Not just from the parents whose children attend Saint Joseph, but from parishioners and affluent donors alike?

    Why has Father Walter Tonelotto not answered the question that’s at the root of this dispute? That question being - why is he not vouching for the retention of Sr. Deborah? Why is he passing the responsibility and thus the consequences of dismissing Sr. Deborah to Timothy McNiff, The Superintendent Of Schools For The Archdioceses? Why is Mr. McNiff essentially passing the buck back to Mr. Tonelotto?

    Ultimately what is gained from this embarrassing exercise? Nothing, other than a disgruntled group of parents, a significant loss of donations, and a bunch of little children that will miss out on what previous generations enjoyed – a great education from a premier institution of The Catholic Church, Saint Joseph School of Chinatown NYC.

    We really don’t understand the politics behind this unconscionable decision. It defies logic, violates every moral principle preached by every religious institution, and short knowing the absolute truth behind the trifecta deal which gave Transfiguration Schools, Saint James’ building, displaced its children, and has placed The School of Saint Joseph in a real bad place; this decision is bad business.

    On behalf of the children, from both Saint James and Saint Joseph, on bended knee we beg The Archdiocese; please rescind your undecided decision to dismiss Sr. Deborah and her staff from Saint Joseph.

    Yours truly,

    All concerned parents from Saint Joseph.

  8. After much protesting, letter writing, and emotionally charged meetings with The Superintendent of Schools; nothing could be done to keep our beloved Sr. Deborah in place as our principal. It all came down to the fact that within the business of education, there’s no room for The Sisters of The Sacred Heart or their mission.
    Still – I’ll like to thank you for allowing me to post, on behalf of the parents of St. Joseph, our dissatisfaction with The Archdiocese.

  9. Cacique,

    I am sorry things did not turn out as you had hoped. My prayers (and I implore those of the readers) are with you, Sr. Deborah and the children of these schools.

    Consider this a safe space for you to speak openly about what is happening in the Diocese.

  10. I know this is a late posts but I cannot believe the bashing of st James by st Joseph parents who have no clue of the daily running of st James. As a graduate of st james I was disturbed by the idea of combining the two schools as both have different values and dynamics. The decision to combine the two school was made by a priest who had no prior knowledge of how to run a school. Mind you this same priest is no longer and allowed rock bands to hold concerts on the altar. For a long time st james had more students enrolled and had more diversity. As for the benefits given to the students of saint james your kids would have been given the same benefits if it was the other way around. And shame on you for trying to deny educational advantages to children. The children are not to blame in adult matters.