Sunday, December 20, 2009

83. Church of the Resurrection (Now Church of St. Charles Borromeo & Chapel of the Resurrection)

NOTE: In 2015 this church merged with the church of St. Charles Borromeo as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015 and only its chapel now remains open. Both places of worship continue to be open for regular Masses and other events. This new combined parish is called the Church of St. Charles Borromeo & Chapel of the Resurrection.

(mass times & church info last updated 03/31/2016)
Address: 276 W. 151st St. (@ 7th Ave.)
Phone: 212.281.2100
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sun: 10am (English), 12pm (Spanish)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Thursdays: 7pm (Spanish)
Church Constructed: 1907
Official Website
About the Organ

"The Church of the Resurrection was founded in 1907 to serve Catholic residents of Central Harlem, which at that time was predominantly white. A modeset building containing the church, school and rectory was built the next year, opening in 1908. By the 1930s, the demographics of Harlem evolved to include many hispanic and black residents, but it was not until the 1970s that the Rev. Lawrence E. Lucas was named as the first African-American pastor of the church (and one of the first in Harlem). In 2007, this parish was scheduled to be consolidated with the Church of St. Charles Borromeo." (from NYC Ago's website)
Journeying to these churches each week is often a struggle, and there is always doubt in my mind. Entering new places can be for me intimidating, (though exhilarating,) and sometimes along the way I wonder whether if it would be better that day should I just head back home to grab some more (much needed) sleep, or meet up with friends, catch a movie instead... Usually I end up going and I am always grateful I have.

Snow covered the city this morning. En route to the church I stopped by a friend's apartment and forced him to come with. We trudged through the snow and sludge - it was cold - heading southeast toward the Church of the Resurrection. Uptown turns slightly confusing sauntering eastward so we found ourselves delayed. Eventually we arrived.

This is the last uptown church on my list and most likely the last black Catholic church I have to visit. It was strange - I expected more congregation in attendance, but perhaps the snow kept the parishioners away. There were about 20 of us total in the pews, as well as a lively choir - VERY lively considering the frigid temperatures outside. Attending the gospel churches, I realize there is no way to leave here without a smile on my face and warmth deep in my soul - there is so much energy and faith!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

*Fool's Mass

I attended another staging of Dzieci's Fool's Mass recently and was again overcome by its power, humor, sweetness and devotion . It shows, in a very dramatic and humorous manner, precisely how we should encounter and participate in the actions and rituals of the Mass: with excitement, enthusiasm and vigor. It's a lesson about faith and the awe of the faithful.

If you live in this city, you should not miss out on seeing this production.

If you are a Catholic not living in this city who has ever been to Mass and either been elated or confounded by what you experienced there, travel here to NYC this year to see one of these shows. You will not be sorry by what you find there.

Included below is a list of upcoming shows from their website:

Thursday, December 17th, 7:30pm
Union Theological Seminary (in the Lampman Chapel)
3041 Broadway (@121st st)
New York City

Friday, December 18th, 7:30pm
The Old Stone House
336 Third Street (bet. 4th & 5th aves)
Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, December 20th, 11am
The Cell Theatre Company
338 West 23rd Street (@8th Ave)
New York City
*All photos taken from Dzieci website.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

82. St. Mary

(mass times & church info last updated 04/24/2016)
Address: 440 Grand St.
Phone: 212.674.3266
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5pm (English)
Sun: 8:30am (English), 10am (Spanish), 12pm (English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 9am (Bilingual Mass in English, Spanish, some Chinese)
Confession: Sat: 4pm-5pm
Adoration: Tue, Fri: 10am-4pm
Church Constructed: 1831-1832

Official Website
About the Organ
The Lower East Side: St. Mary's Church
The Cult of the Virgin Mary in New York
The Blessed Virgin Mary


What happens to my faith sometimes?

Why do I often have so little?

In other people, in myself, the world. Why do I hold onto these worries, cling to the stress? What do I still need to learn that I've missed thus far?

Why can I not just trust? Give my worries to God? Release and let go?

These churches are further and further away from me. This one took about an hour to travel to today. I almost did not go. Having too much other things going on, too many errands, too much worry and stress, I considered just going to one of the local neighborhood churches (which at this point is either the Frances Xavier Cabrini Chapel, or Church of the Good Shepherd.) Ultimately I decided to head out, and after an hour on the subway made it to St. Mary Church in the Lower East Side.

From St. Mary's website:
"The American nation was not yet 50 years old when on May 14th, 1826, Fr. Hatton Walsh, an Irish Augustinian, stood in the pulpit to face his parishioners in a newly acquired Church on Sheriff Street, in NYC. It was the 3rd Catholic Church in New York...The reason for its establishment was compelling. St. Peter's, on Barclay Street (established 1785), and St. Patrick's Old Cathedral (established 1809), were overflowing.

To accommodate the families now located east of the Bowery, the Rev. John Power, Vicar General of the Diocese, approved the creation of a new parish...On March 27th, 1827, the feast of the Annunciation with Bishop Dubois presiding, the Church was dedicated to the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Historically, St. Mary's was the first Church to be blessed by the Bishop...

Even though St. Mary's ranks third as a parish foundation, it is the oldest, complete church in the Diocese. While the Catholic Churches in Lower New York continued to grow and prosper as more and more Catholics arrived from foreign lands, mostly from Ireland, latent antagonistic feelings - anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant, anti-Irish - were beginning to surface. Protestant propaganda began to arouse people to the "dangerous interests and pretensions of the Roman Catholic Church". St. Mary's was one of the first Catholic Churches to suffer from this bigotry.

On the morning of November 9th, 1831, St. Mary's Church was destroyed by fire. Vandals and saboteurs had broken in, pillaged it, secured the tongue of the bell, started a fire in three places, and burned the church to the ground. Almost everything was destroyed...

Aroused, united and determined, the parishioners of St. Mary's, with many of the outraged non-Catholic friends, mobilized to build a new Church...

On December 31, 1831, St. Mary's was able to purchase property on Grand and Ridge Streets, which became the site of the new and present St. Mary's Church. The cornerstone was laid April 30th, 1832. Soon after the basement was completed (which is now called the Bingo Hall) served as the first parish school for St. Mary's. On December 23rd [1832], a little more than one year after the destruction of the original church, the first mass was celebrated in the basement of the new St. Mary's Church."

It's a bright, white, fairly large church with a very diverse congregation. I was happy to be there on this second Sunday of Advent. I attended the 12pm Mass which turns out is a Family Mass (at least this weekend.) Something about it, and my mood, put me in the most impatient mindset however, and I felt very out of the moment. I hate when this happens. The priest was doing a very good job of describing, in brief, a bit of background about each reading, giving both historical context and narrative detail to each story - which was really interesting, and something I wish I had access to each week. Still, I just felt so out of it. After Mass, I left, my mind on my stress and the things I had to do, unable to leave any of it behind.

Strangely, it was music that helped me today turn my mind to reflect on lighter things through two specific experiences. The first happened, entering the #1 train at 82nd street around 3pm this afternoon, tired from my errands. Our subway car was joined by two mariachi musicians who began jamming immediately upon takeoff. Instantly my mood was lightened, my outlook brightened - how could one be so consumed in gloom in the midst of that always fun, bizarre and spontaneous combustion of live music on a moving subway car?

My heart lifted, exiting the subway at 181st St. I made my way to Holyrood Episcopal Church on 179th St. and Ft. Washington where the Cornerstone Chorale was performing favorite chorale arrangements from their past performances. This is a very good local city choir and always a joy to sit in a cool church on an afternoon being in the presence of their song. Heavy thoughts had been in my head, with heavy worry. As I listened to the performance, my mind was carried away as beautiful composition after composition was presented and the choir's song told the story that the world is not so dark, and that man, in God's presence, under His watchful eye, can create and produce things of great beauty and elicit the purest and best of feelings and emotions from within the soul. Then, the eighth piece was performed and I was struck, unable to control myself, tears welled up in my eyes and a lesson was instilled in me with the rapidity of a flood, a bit of Johannes Brahms Geistliches Lied (sacred song.)

"Do not be sorrowful or regretful; Be
calm, as God has ordained,
and thus my will shall be content.
What do you want to worry
about from day to day?
There is One who stands above all
who gives you, too,
what is yours. Only be steadfast in all you do,
stand firm; what God has decided,
that is and must be the best. Amen."

Later, a line from Maurice Duruflé's Ubi Caritas rung out, true too, to that within:

"Let us love each other sincerely and from the heart."

They ended the day with a Robert Frost poem (Choose Something Like a Star), set in Randall Thompson's composition Frostiana, and within this piece so fully were so much some of my very own considerations and true feelings about God, and this world, and how we humans try so desperately to gain some understanding - sometimes leaning (too heavily!) on science or fact, over feeling and faith. At some point during the middle of this piece things clicked inside me and I understood, briefly,

"O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud-
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light,
Some mystery becomes the proud,
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat,
Say something! And it says, 'I burn,'
But say with what degree of heat,
Talk Farenheit, talk Centigrade,
Use language we can comprehend,
Tell us what elements you blend,
It gives us strangely little aid,
But it does tell something in the end,
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid."

On another note - I think sometimes those few of you readers out there read some of this craziness I write and find it most necessary to pray for me. I ask today, if you are reading this, to offer a special intention and say a prayer of healing for my brother-in-law down in Texas who is very sick. He's the father of two precious little girls, and he's currently in the Intensive Care Unit and needs as many positive thoughts and prayers as possible heading his way.

Thank you.