Sunday, May 31, 2009

64. St. Michael

(mass times & church info last updated 04/24/2016)
Address: 424 W. 34th St. (@10th Ave.)
Phone: 212.563.2575
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5pm (English)
Sun: 10am (English, choir), 11:15am (Spanish), 12:15pm (English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 7:25am (in the Chapel of Divine Mercy), 12:10pm (main Church) (both English)
Holy Days of Obligation: 7:25am, 12:10pm, 5:10pm (all English)
Confession: Sat: 4:30pm-5pm, and after any Mass
Adoration & Novenas: contact the church for more info
Official Website
About the Organ
About St. Michael the Archangel

Walking home at 6am this morning, exhausted mentally and physically, not to mention emotionally, misdirected, misguided, trudging along, feeling all the old feelings of last night's revelry: ill, tired and shamed. Is this all I'm capable of? Is that the reason I keep coming back to it?

Later, I visited St. Michael's on 34th street. Another beautiful church but, perhaps it was my mood, something about the services seemed muted and dispassionate. The music was technically good yet lacked a certain animation. The African priest delivered a great talk, but something didn't seem to click. Maybe it was row after row of empty pews - only about 20 of us in attendance. Something was missing.

The church is aesthetically gorgeous. There are great statues of angels and saints (including John the Baptist and Pio.) especially one of St. Michael stepping upon Satan in triumph (though not as grand as that spectacular one out front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.) My favorite part of the morning was kneeling in front of St. Michael's statue and finding a prayer to him and reciting it - a prayer I will forever cling to (see below.)

Now tonight, as the evening grows long and those Sunday night blues begin, the emptiness I felt this morning at Mass has found me here.

I'm losing it. I don't know what I'm going to do. Falling further and further from what I know and what I want and want to be. Away from others. My friends are like strangers. Everything I thought I had and assumed to be mine, is gone.

St. Michael, Archangel,
Defend us in battle.
Be our defense
against the wickedness
and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray.
And you, Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into Hell Satan
and the other evil spirits
who prowl the world
for the ruin of souls.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

63. St. John the Baptist (New Parish Name TBD)

NOTE: In 2015 this church merged with Church of the Holy Cross 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 name is currently TBD.

(mass times & church info last updated 03/22/2016)
Address: 210 W. 31st St. (@ 7th Ave.)
Phone: 212.564.9070
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 4pm
Sun: 9am, 10:30am, 12pm, 5:15pm
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 6:45am, 7:45am, 12:15pm, 5:15pm
Sat: 12:15pm
Sat: 11:30am-12:30pm, 3pm-4pm
Mon-Fri: 7:15am-7:45am, 11:45am-12:15pm
Mon-Fri: 11:55am, 4:55pm
Sat: 12pm
Exposition: M-F: after the 12:15pm Mass
Benediction: M-F: 5:05pm
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Novena Mass: Wed: 6:30pm
All Night Vigil (Our Lady of Fatima):
The Friday before the First Saturday: 9pm-6am
Blessing With the Relic of the True Cross:
Fridays following the 12:15pm and 5:15pm masses
Church Constructed: 1872

Official Website
The Padre Pio Shrine at the church
Prayer Garden at the church
About the Organ
Yelp reviews
About St. John the Baptist

I am an incredible imbecile; a child requiring constant guidance, prone to distraction, destruction and desperation; in need of God, holding and leading me. Without God I am nothing, capable of so much horror; and with God, I am somehow kept safe from myself.

Single again, I am the inevitable failure: incapable of maintaining relationships because of my own issues or theirs.  I walk these streets alone again, in darkness towards light, turning towards God, praying to be lead me down the right path, toward some kind of ultimate end, towards salvation.

For what have I here without God? Empty streets, broken bottles, Radiohead?

Early on I committed one or two mistakes but for the most part, on the whole, I was decent - better than normal.  I was good and did all things accordingly. Yet, for whatever reasons, this time once again, it's not happening. There are many things I have to offer, but those qualities of mine, which some may find so attractive, do not offer her a house, provide for her or make her feel secure. Loser is too strong (and silly) a word. Inept waste, perhaps?

Such was my mood when I attended St. John the Baptist this morning...

It's a really wonderful church, actually - complete with meditation garden in the middle of midtown Manhattan. I know many Catholics that work in this area often attend daily mass at this church, or try to catch a breather from the world - this is the place to do just that.

Ironically, all the readings today focused on love. Love of the Father for us, we for the Father and one another. The priest giving the homily, Father Salvatore, even quoted Bacharach's little song: "What the world needs now, is love sweet love, not just for some, but for everyone." It was one of the best sermons I've heard in a while - but I believe part this was in part to the fact I was really listening. Loving each other is truly so easy - then why in practice is it so difficult?

I thanked Salvatore for his words and then enjoyed the benefits of the meditation garden. I also prayed to Padre Pio - there is a shrine to Pio here. My brother, back home now in the town I group up in, divorced and unemployed, has recently come back to the church in large part due to his admiration of Pio.

The sky outside, fittingly, is grey today, and my mood, brightened momentarily by my encounter with St. John the Baptist church this morning, dims again. Things for me had seemed okay, and now, once again I'm unsure. She was a good, beautiful, thoughtful, Catholic, and I even got along well with her family.

Also - I loved her.

"Can't get the stink off, he's been hanging round for days, comes like a comet, suckered you but not your friends, one day he'll get to you and teach you how to be a holy cow, you do it to yourself, you do and that's what really hurts, is that you do it to yourself, just you, you and no one else, you do it to yourself...Don't get my sympathy, hanging out the fifteenth floor, you've changed the locks three times, he still comes reeling through the door, one day I'll get to you, and teach you how to get to purest hell..."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

62. St. Lucy (CLOSED)

NOTE: In 2015 this church closed down and was merged into St. Ann Church as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. Only St. Ann's will remain open for regular Masses and other events. This combined parish is called St. Ann-St. Lucy Church.

(church info last updated 03/30/2016)
Address: 344 E. 104th St. (between 1st & 2nd)
About St. Lucy

Attending the Mass today with a nearly dead camera battery - got the pics I could before it stopped working - hope these will do.

A few things struck me and stuck with me about Mass today - first off: St. Lucy's eyes. The saint is always shown in art holding a pair of eyes, her eyes. She was martyred and it's said (in some retellings) that her murderers gouged out her eyes before killing her. Thus, she is the patron saint of the blind.

It was First Communion Mass at St. Lucy's today, so I witnessed maybe 15-20 young kids in their suits and dresses receive the Sacrament for the first time - it was cute. Something about it made me all emotional today. The kids happy to be receiving Communion for the first time; the pride in their parents' eyes; the children handing their mothers roses at the end of Mass to commemorate Mother's Day: it was all very sweet.

The hymns sung at today's Mass were all sentimental to me as they were throwbacks to the songs I grew up with (and probably you did too:) "Here I am, Lord", "One Bread, One Body", and "I am the Bread of Life." The last one really got me today, and any of the emotions I was having came on all the stronger during that song. I remember this hymn at my grandfather's funeral when I was seven years old - the only time I've ever seen my father cry. It just gets me, you know? And my mind turns to my own parents and how they are getting on in years (not anywhere near decrepit or anything like that, but still slowing down,) and I think about what will happen one day in the future and I can't stand to even consider it.

But that is all to come some day down the road. For now there are other things. My girlfriend and I are on the brink of certain ruin. The girls of my past have looked at me in ways I couldn't handle and so told them not too, but I could never convince them that I wasn't the man they considered me to be. And now that I've found one who's seen right through me, and still wants to be with me, I know it isn't, in the end, going to turn out okay after all. There's a rift between us, something that's not all right. She knows my failings, and though she accepts them, I can see that a part of her mind (or maybe it's her heart) never will. The subsequent unspoken psychological effects seep down good and deep and seethe there, beneath the surface of us both, until we grow apart, drastically, all the while sitting at her kitchen table, facing one another.