Wednesday, April 29, 2009

*Cornerstone Chorale at The Church of the Good Shepherd

I was lucky enough to attend the Cornerstone Chorale's Spring Concert the other day, held at The Church of the Good Shepherd. Inside this church once again, I was reminded what a great church it is and what a joy it is to be inside, especially on a sunny afternoon, in its cool comfort, listening to a beautiful performance.

They performed Haydn's Mass in D Minor...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

61. Sts. Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael's (Croatian)

(mass times & church info last updated 04/04/2016)
Address: 502 W. 41st St.
Phone: 212.563.3395
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sun: 9am (Croatian), 10am (English), 11am (Croatian)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Tue-Sat: 8am (Croatian)
Confession: Sundays and Holy Days before Mass
Liturgy of the Hours: 
Tue-Sat: 8am
Church Constructed: 1902

Official Website
Architectural Images
About the Organ
Flickr Photo
Great exterior shot of the church before it was covered in scaffolding (and before The Victory apartment buildings went up) can be found in one of these posts...
About Saints Cyril and Methodius
About Saint Raphael


I attended the 11am Croatian Mass today at this church of Saints Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael. By the way, the extra long name and reason for three patron saints, I discovered, is because Cyril and Methodius were brothers, famous missionaries to the Slavic people, and are typically shared patrons of churches and often shown together in religious art and iconography. In 1974, the parish of Sts. Cyril and Methodius merged with the parish of St. Raphael. Interestingly enough, and something I didn't know, Raphael is one of three named archangels out of seven (the others being Michael and Gabriel.)

I was overwhelmed by how packed this church was (and it's a fairly large church, far on the west side of the island) with its community members, all of whom seem livened and celebratory in just being there. It seemed like a strong community too, as I took it all in from my standing room only position in the back of the church. As the Mass ended, it seemed the congregation could barely control themselves any longer as they burst into greetings and conversation - one of the priests, who was about to perform a baptism, actually had to quiet everyone down and ask them to get moving so the family of the infant could have their Christening in peace.

I was also taken in with the beautiful singing of the choir above (above my head, directly actually) so much so that I decided to record a bit of it and have included it here in the link above. Very heavenly experience in being here this morning/afternoon.

The church is immense with a lot of art, and ceilings and just about everything to look at. Unfortunately, for the time being the only bad view is the one outside, as the building is currently covered in scaffolding.

The weather has finally warmed in the city and after church I headed to Central Park to meet up with some friends. There were a lot of people out picnicking in Sheep's Meadow but I have to admit I found the Park somewhat annoying today, and frankly a lot of the conversation in my group quite dull - fashion and gossip mainly. These were some of my girlfriend's friends - delightful, pretty and nice, but girls I don't have that much interest in spending time with (outside of the fact that my girlfriend does.) An afternoon like this, stuck in between various Manhattanites on one side, with the sun coming down hard, and these girls on the other leads me to wonder how someone sweet and real like my girlfriend enjoys spending so much time with people whose favorite topics to pass the time somehow (to me) seem so empty and vapid.

I don't know - maybe I'm just being a prick. Most of my topics of interest probably bore the shit out of people.

The afternoon did turn around, however, when later I found myself, for the first time, in the middle of Inwood Park - what a paradise in the city it is! I enjoyed the rocks, the trees, the water, walking around, playing, and we happened into a great little restaurant later on, The Indian Road Cafe. All the many events of the day carried me off, made me feel as though I were countries or worlds away from real life here - almost as if I was back in some kind of coma dream I used to think I'd fallen into, a kind of state of unconscious where everything and everyone from every moment in your life make strange cameo appearances in a surreal land of make-believe events that could never happen in reality. Sometimes this is my coma dream, sometimes its the day-to-day in this monstrous metropolis.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

60. St. Vincent de Paul (CLOSED)

NOTE: In 2013 this church closed down. The building has already been or will be either leased or sold. If you have any further information on the closing of this church or any continuing efforts to help save it, please leave a comment below.

(church info last updated 04/24/2016)
Address: 123 W. 23rd St. (between 6th & 7th)
Phone: 212.243.4727
Constructed: 1857
Great Place for Brunch Nearby: Le Grainne Cafe
Official Save the Church Facebook Page
Wikipedia Page Highlighting the church history and demise
NY Timse April 2012 Article about the closing
St. Vincent de Paul Faces a Sad Fate (New York Sun, April 2008)
For NYC Francophones, Saving Chelsea Church a Cause Célébre (Chelsea Now, April 2008)
Parishioners Keep Fighting as Church Stays in Limbo (Chelsea Now, June 2007)
Amid Closings, Preparing to Bid a Chelsea Church Adieu (NY Times, June 2006)
Stop a Church Closing (New Liturgical Movement, June 2006)
Help Save a Parish
Flickr Photos
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
St. Vincent de Paul
CUNY Journalism Blog Entry

The Church of St. Vincent de Paul in Chelsea, one of the only French parishes in the city, is yet another church in danger of closing down. Based on my research of the above sites, it seems it was a strong candidate for closing down in 2006 and 2007, with its fate now in some kind if limbo.

I found this 2007 article from The New York Post that details the Archdiocese's plans of which churches were going to be merged into other parishes and which would be closed forever. St. Vincent de Paul seems as if it was on its way to being merged with the nearby parish of St. Columba. As of today it is still standing and I am not sure of what its future is or will be as the articles seem to stop in 2008. Is it still going to be closed or merged (or is it merged already?) Please, if you know anything of it's fate, comment below.

I had walked past this church many time before on various errands on and around 23rd street (mainly on my way to and from TekServe.) Sadly, it had always seemed, to me, just another building on busy 23rd, though I did wonder what it would be like inside.

It's a pretty church, classical and old - with a very French history (Edith Piaf was married there!) I attended the 10am English Mass though probably should have tried, and kind of regret not, attending the 11:30am French Mass. It seems fairly traditional and Communion is handed out in the traditional style of lining up in a row and kneeling at the altar.

I also came upon this interesting article from May 2008 in the Gotham Gazette which details the fates of various closed churches in the city and what became of them: apartments, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. Sad to think that these holy places, once destinations of worship, are now such secular domicile places of commonality - then again, some part of me would strongly desire to live in an old church, or have some drinks in one, or enjoy dinner. Last year during Lent, I recall wanting to go smoke a hookah in a place called The Cloister Cafe, simply because of the stained glass decor, old chapel door and pews for seating.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

59. St. Thomas More (Now Our Lady of Good Counsel-St. Thomas More)

NOTE: In 2015 this church merged with Our Lady of Good Counsel 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. This new combined parish is called Our Lady of Good Counsel-Saint. Thomas More.

(mass times & church info last updated 03/24/2016)
Address: 65 E. 89th St.
Phone: 212.876.7718
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5:45pm (English)
Sun: 8:30am, 10am (Family), 12pm (Choral), 5:45pm (all English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Sat: 8am, 12:15pm (both English)
Mon-Fri: 12pm-12:10pm
Sat: 5pm-5:30pm

Official Website
About the Organ
Yelp Review
St. Thomas More
St. Thomas More (Catholic Encyclopedia)
St. Thomas More (Wikipedia)


I need a drink.

Easter nears and I reflect on my small sacrifices of the past 40 days. Taking a page from old school Catholicism I decided to forego meat not just on Fridays but everyday. All in all it wasn't that difficult. Giving up the booze proved easier this year as well. Over time, though, I realized I had many vices, and had just exchanged some for others, so eventually I gave up other things as well: coffee, sweets and other substances. Now, with tea as my only daily stimulant, I wander the city in a fuzzy haze, feeling somewhat calmer (though recent altercations with my girlfriend show otherwise) and heading toward some kind of celebration this Easter Sunday.

A few things I've taken away from this Lenten experience:

Number one: Though many will argue that sacrifice during Lent is empty and meaningless as it offers nothing to the needy or for the good of the world, and that one should do something positive for others as opposed to denying themselves trivialities, I realize that each day I awake, pacing through Lent, desiring one of these things I've given up, I am reminded of the sacrifices of the Son and the Father for our sakes, and though my own sacrifice is petty and small in comparison, it is a reminder of all that has been done for me, for us. Further, upon finally arriving at Easter, the importance of the day and the meaning behind the resurrection of the Lord and the new life given to me, to all of us, is all the more enhanced by my own personal joy in these worldly celebrations. Last year I encountered Easter as the beginning of a new kind of year and a new life, and I will do the same this year in a few days.

Number two: Self-denial is good.

Number three: Lady Grey Tea is awesome.

The church of St. Thomas More was a wonderful place to find myself celebrating this Palm Sunday (though my head felt fuzzy and unclear, perhaps because I was without coffee to focus me in the morning.) The church itself is somewhat small and cozy and seems to come right out of the pages of times. I believe it was first built in the 19th century as an Episcopalian church and later in the 1950's was acquired, consecrated and renovated as a Catholic Church.

I attended the 12:30pm mass among a mix of folks, many ages - many older folks seeming to struggle with the steep concrete stairs outside the building on their way home. I myself left, still in my fog, and headed to the Guggenheim (right down the street,) and on into the world away from the calm of the little church, headed towards this new year of Easter upon us, a time for new life and new beginnings.

Happy Easter, folks.

*I would just like to add a quick note here about my intense admiration for the man, the saint, Thomas More. Ever since a school teacher played the movie A Man For All Seasons for us and explained his tale I have liked St. Thomas More. His devotion not only to God and a higher morality but to the sanctity and sacredness of marriage is some kind of lesson that has just seemed to stick with me over the years and one I hope to carry with me forever on into my own (hopefully growing ever more moral) life as well as into the future and possibilities of my own marriage.