Sunday, February 14, 2010

87. Church of the Transfiguration (Now the Parish of Transfiguration and of St. James/St. Joseph)

NOTE: In 2015 the church of St. Joseph (Chinatown) (which had previously merged with 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. (Strangely, when I emailed this church to ask the new name and info about masses, they gave me no answer, only referred me to the Archdiocese. So, I got this new name from the Archdiocese website.)

(mass times & church info last updated 04/07/2016)
Address: 29 Mott St.
Phone: 212.962.5157
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 6pm (English)
Sun 9am (Mandarin), 10:15am (Cantonese), 11:30am (English), 1pm (Mandarin)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 8am (Cantonese), 12:10pm (English)
Holy Day Mass Times: 
8am (Cantonese), 12:10pm (English)
Confession: Sun: 15 minutes before Mass
Church Constructed: 1810

Official Website
Wikipedia entry
Explore Chinatown
Catholic Encyclopedia: Transfiguration


Providence today, and lately in so many ways. After my discovery at Our Lady of Vilnius, and needing to attend Mass for the week, I made my way across Broome St. and then headed south on Mott. My knowledge of this area of the island is limited and so as the shops and signs of SoHo and Little Italy gave way to Chinese storefronts and characters, I realized the Mass I'd end up attending today would be in Chinatown.

There was excitement and activity on the street, everywhere I turned it seemed people were setting things up - though I wasn't sure why. As I looked over the ground, the road I was walking on, seeing confetti remnants and bits of debris everywhere, I wondered to myself if it was by chance the Chinese New Year. Of course, it was.

The Mass I ended up attending was in Cantonese, and I followed along as I typically do during the non English services - a lot of quiet meditation and prayer, following along with the order of the Mass. This is again a church with such a strong, vital community. I could really see how much these parishioners care for one another.

During Communion, I witnessed another form of intinction I was again unfamiliar with. The parishioners would receive the Host, hold it in hand, walk to the Eucharistic Minister holding the chalice, and dip the bread into the wine.

Halfway during the Mass, a great ruckus sounded from outside - drumming began, a fast rhythm, and steady. After Mass, we exited, and found ourselves walking right into the middle of a great Chinese New Year parade: crowd, fireworks, confetti, dragons.

It was strange being in Chinatown during this celebration - this festival of new life. Providence did indeed lead me here on this day to witness this culture celebrating this event. It's this sort of thing that invigorates me to live in this city - to wander upon such a big event and experience it in the middle of my day. It was cool. Coincidentally, my girlfriend and I visited the Met's Chinese wing on Saturday, hidden away on the third floor, taking in the ancient art and symbols, so it was great to experience the culture first hand today that is tied into those works from centuries ago.

It is still an ongoing and very rough adjustment and transition for my girlfriend. Today she whispered that maybe she should not have come. This is a difficult time and I wonder how we will make it through it. I want to share everything with her, including letting her in on this blog (something I have not voluntarily shared with anyone I know.) I believe I am doing everything I can for her during this period, but I am not sure if it is enough or what will end up happening.


  1. How wonderful! I've never been to Transfiguration, but last year I attended the Rite of Election (for catechumens - those asking to be baptized at Easter) at the Cathedral for the first time, and I was astonished by how many people were there from that parish (all of them Chinese). Such an inspiring witness. I'll be back at the Cathedral this Sunday, keeping an eye out for Transfiguration!

    Thanks for blogging your journey -- I am enjoying following along.

  2. Interesting.
    I always love your posts.
    Thanks for this.

  3. This year I participated for the first time in this parish's 16th Annual Assumption procession. The procession snaked through
    Chinatown, stopping at St. Joseph's, St. James and St. Theresa's. Hundreds of people processed and the rosary was prayed in 6 languages. The 2 non-Chinese languages were English and Spanish. There was a great spirit of kindness and generosity. This is a wonderful parish.