Sunday, February 28, 2010

89. Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz

(mass times & church info last updated 02/28/2010)
Address: 378 Broome St.
Phone: 212.925.2428
Weekend Mass Times: Sun: 2:15pm
Weekday Mass Times: Wed: 6:30pm (see below)
Confession: Sat: 5pm-6pm
Church Constructed: ???

Official Website
Save the Filipino Chapel in New York
"New York's Filipino Chapel to remain open, for now" (Asian Journal)
Our Lady of Vilnius, NYC: "Broome Street Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz: The Plot Thickens"
"Unveiling of the San Lorenzo Ruiz" (The Filipino Express)
Wikipedia: San Lorenzo Ruiz


This is the former Church of the Most Holy Crucifix, another closed church which is on my (aging!) complete list of the Archdiocese of New York City churches from 2007. Two weeks ago, after my discovery at Our Lady of Vilnius, and before my experience at Church of the Transfiguration, as I headed east on Broome St., I stopped by this church, looking for Holy Crucifix. It did indeed add to an increasing feeling of bleakness, traveling from one closed church to another. However, I was filled with curiosity that Holy Crucifix had been replaced with this Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz (first Filipino martyr.)

Adding even further to the curiosity, was an official letter from the Vicar General, Dennis Sullivan (he was the Bishop who presided over my confirmation two summers ago,) that was posted over Holy Crucifix's original Mass schedule.

The letter, dated December 1, 2009, stated the following:

"Dear Fathers,

On behalf of Archbishop Dolan, and in my own name as Vicar General, I write to thank each of you for your service to the Filipino community here in New York.

My meetings with you...confirmed that the Team Ministry model for the work at the San Lorenzo Chapel has not developed as we hoped. I think it is true to say that we see now that it is best to remove the obligations from and the participation of the Team Members, and to refocus the future work at the chapel under the leadership of Father Joseph Marabe. seems in hindsight that the structure we designed and the mission that was defined for you had some problems from the start. All of you had great zeal and enthusiasm for promoting the Chapel, and came up with ideas for enhancing its service. These included starting a Mass on Saturday night in Spanish, and allowing the personal devotion of a visionary to take root there. However, there are parish churches nearby for the pastoral care of Latinos and private devotions are private and do not belong in the public prayer of a chapel. The Archdiocese will not assign a priest to work at the chapel full-time. Many of our territorial parishes are blessed with Filipino parishioners whose presence enhances those parishes.

When a team ministry starts to unravel, feelings can be hurt and good people can suffer. Please be charitable to one another and all the devotees of San Lorenzo Ruiz, and let us move forward together with greater clarity about leadership and focus.

Specifically, let us start again this time of evaluation for the future of the Chapel by saying that Father Joseph Marabe, as moderator if the Filipio Apostolate on the Archdiocese, will be responsible to me for the operation of the Chapel. I expect him to be in residence there for the foreseeable future, along with a layman of his choosing, so that the property will be kept safe. Father will coordinate the Masses, etc. without intruding on neighboring parishes. He will call upon other priests to help him as needed, and seek the advice and cooperation of all those interested in the Chapel. He will report on the financial health of the operation, and the Archdiocese will continue to evaluate the pastoral mission of the Chapel..."
What in the world happened to merit that letter?! (And what ever happened to Church of the Most Holy Crucifix? Actually, this list of closed Churches in Manhattan reveals the church was closed in 2005, but that does not explain why it still made my list from the Archdiocese's site in 2007!)

It was really bizarre to be standing in front of a former parish, reading an edict from the Vicar relating to problems the new parish seems to be having. Even though this chapel was not on my original list, I am posting about my visit here today, two weeks after my initial encounter...

It's a small inside building (perfectly sized for a chapel,) and decorated with two sculptures of San Lorenzo Ruiz - one near the front entrance, and one to the left of the altar.

This was a nice little multi-lingual Mass. The first reading was in Filipino, the second reading in Spanish, and the sermon was in a mix of Filipino, Spanish, Italian and English - Fr. Joe Marabe was very good at knowing his congegration and speaking directly to them, to us.

I wish this little parish good luck, they are young (about a year) and still growing. There's a good vibe in this chapel, a peaceful mood. The music at the 2:15pm (one or two guitarists) is nice and warm, soothing and perfect. You should come here, they welcome visitors.

I think my girlfriend regrets moving here, she may even hate it. She has told me she has thought about leaving here, grabbing her stuff out of storage, taking off, rolling on out. I understand that. The freedom, the escape. About this point in relationships, I tend to feel the same thing. The urge to run. Escape away to some kind of lonesome safety. If she were to leave, it would be very different than any breakup of the past. I would find myself in some kind of total insular shock about everything that had just happened.

Over the course of the rest of my quest to these last seven churches, I realize by the end I'll have nothing more figured out than I do now, nothing determined. There will be no clean happy ending involving love. No resolution. And though I'll have journeyed and experienced the Almighty in a few more different ways, I'll still be a wanderer wandering. A wanderer wondering.

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