Wednesday, March 31, 2010

93. Church of the Most Precious Blood (Now the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood, part of the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral)

NOTE: In 2015 this church merged with Old St. Patrick's Cathedral 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. There is no new combined name for this parish as both churches will continue to be known by their separate names. However, this church is now known as the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood, a part of The Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral.

(mass times & church info last updated 03/23/2016)
Address: 109 Mulberry St. (front entrance at 113 Baxter)
Phone: 212.226.6427
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5:30pm (English)
Sun: 2pm (Vietnamese)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 7pm (English, during Lent & Easter only)
Rosary of Mercy: 
Mon-Fri: 12pm
Constructed: 1888 (renovated 1995)
Official Website
About the Organ
San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy (2009)
Church Postage Stamps
Congegration of the Most Precious Blood
San Gennaro (St. Janarius)
The Relic of San Gennaro
Feast of San Gennaro (NYC Street Festival)


Okay, okay, one more daily mass before I go.
"During the Feast of San Gennaro, which is held yearly in September, a celebratory Mass is held at [Church of the Most Precious Blood] on the last Saturday of September. Following this, the statue of San Gennaro is taken from its home within the church on a procession through the streets of Little Italy."

It was another morning enchantment where I felt I was altogether somewhere else in some other life in some other land. The main church entrance, above, is located at 113 Baxter (though I don't believe it's open during the weekdays, maybe Sundays.) The other entrance is on Mulberry, the cusp of Chinatown and Little Italy - stuck between two almost fantasy worlds. When you arrive there, it looks like no other church in the city.

But you see the sign arching over the driveway entrance, so you know you're there, know everything is going to be okay.

Almost immediately you realize it's run by the Fanciscans.

And then signs begin pointing the way to the church.


And statues...

It's a nice walk into the church.

It puts one at ease...

Gives one peace...

Relaxes and calms...

Hold on...

Almost there...

Wait for it...


You are there and it's a somewhat small, intimate place, good for morning prayer and reflection. It puts you in the best mood. You see another reminder of the Franciscans and remember what Jesus spoke to St. Francis, "Francis, repair My church..."

It's a Wednesday and there is a devotion after Mass to San Gennarro.

You never realized what a big deal San Gennarro is, but there is much devotion to him in this parish, for on this earth he accomplished a great deal. And you wonder to yourself how much you will ever accomplish in life. You make a note to remind yourself to come back to this parish in September for the San Gennarro festival and street procession. After Mass, you walk to the back of the church and pay a visit to the National Shrine...

You pray, you meditate, you hope.

The first reading sticks with you, and part of your prayer becomes asking the Lord to guide you to do the right thing with your life,
"The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.

The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me. See, the Lord God is my help; who will prove me wrong?"

(Isaiah 50:4-9a)

This church and this Mass on this Wednesday of Holy Week has made you feel good, made you feel right, energized you. You chuckle to yourself quietly as you wander around this blessed place, someone has slipped Pio some money.

- - -
After Mass today, before jumping on the subway I stopped in the AT&T building on the Avenue of the Americas. If you've never been by there before, it's surely not to miss. Beautiful art deco decor in the lobby - another world altogether from what I had experienced but minutes before.

additional photos...84th Annual San Gennaro Festival 2010...


I just came across this video from one of my favorite sites...

Friday, March 26, 2010

92. Church of the Most Holy Redeemer (Now Parish of the Most Holy Redeemer and of Nativity)

NOTE: In 2015 the Church of the Nativity closed down and was merged into Church of the Most Holy Redeemer as part of the Archdiocese of New York's great closings & mergers of 2015. Only Church of the Most Holy Redeemer will remain open for regular Masses and other events. This combined parish is called Parish of the Most Holy Redeemer and of Nativity.

(mass times & church info last updated 03/23/2016)
Address: 173 E. 3rd St. (Between Avenues A & B)
Phone: 212.673.4224
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5:30pm (English)
Sun: 9am (English), 10:30am (Spanish), 12:15pm (English), 7:30pm (English)
Legal Holiday Mass Times: 9am (English)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Thur: 8am, 6pm (both English)
Wed: 12pm (Spanish)
Thu: 12pm (English)
Fri: 8am (English), 7pm (Spanish)
Sat: 9am (English)
Fri: 7:45pm-8:30pm
Sat: 4:30pm-5:30pm
Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help: 
Thu: 8am, 12pm (both English)
Wed: 12pm (Spanish)
Novena to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos: 
Fri: After the 8am Mass (English)
Fri: After the 7pm Mass (Spanish)
Constructed: 1851-1852
Official Website
About the Organ
Golden Jubilee Article (NY Times, 1894)
Congegration of the Most Holy Redeemer


As I approach the end of this journey, I wanted to include one more daily Mass. My new job, thankfully, allows the time and proximity to attend daily Mass much more often than my old life. As always, I find daily Mass so much more calming, peaceful and devout than Sundays.
'The Roman Catholic Church of the Most Holy Redeemer was established in 1844 by the Redemptorist Fathers to serve German immigrants living in the city. St. Nicholas could no longer accomodate the numbers... Located on East Third Street in an area formerly known as Kleindeutschland ("Little Germany"), the convent & rectory school built first...the present cathedral-like church building was built in 1851-52 to designs by a Mr. Walsh, and dedicated on November 28, 1852.

In 1913, the church was renovated by Paul Schulz, who simplified the original Baroque facade and shortened the 250-foot tower. In the tower are eight bells: two by Meneely of Watervliet, N.Y., and six from Constance, Switzerland. With the advent of the elevated trains, the German population moved northward, often to the Yorkville. Today, the congregation is known as Santisimo Redentor, and is a shrine in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help."
-from NYCago (
Church of the Most Holy Redeemer had "the first bells in the world ever to be rung by means of electric switches [on Janauary 11, 1914]." (The Spiritual Traveler, 18)

In addition to this church holding the complete remains of St. Datian, a reliquary chapel also holds "relics of Jesus' manger, the pillar at which he was scourged, the true cross, the girdle of the Virgin Mary, the mantle of St. Joseph, and other relics of St. Ann, St. Lazarus, St. John the Baptist, and St. Anthony of Padua."(124)

It was strange this morning, for some reason, waking early and taking the train down to the Lower East Side. There is such newness each morning, so much potential, before the sun begins its journey across the sky, and the hours slip away, bringing us to night.

I walked into this church and became instantly entranced with its size and decor'. Being there at that hour carried me to a different place, another realm. I sat, I kneeled, I prayed and experienced a calm and an energy that exists in this space.

I prayed in front of St. Datian and the other relics. I can find no online resources telling me who St. Datian was. All I know is he was "the first saint and the only male saint whose complete set of relics were given to the Church in the United States..."(Adam's Ale) and only one of two saints whose complete remains are in New York City, (the other being Mother Cabrini at her shrine.)

I dreamt of Leviathan last evening.

I was with some family and friends at some kind of seaside park. There was a gaming area. Alone, I chose to play the pinball machine. This game though, was covered in thick hard black plastic surrounding the glass. I controlled the paddles, but could not see what they were doing, couldn't tell where the little metal balls were going, if I was winning. Tiring of this game I walked outside where I found an outdoor aquarium. I walked over to one area, where a woman stood watch over a tank, the caretaker. Just above the surface of the dark green water, I saw the thick white skin of some sea creature beneath. I reached to touch it, and it moved, broke the surface suddenly and sailed towards heaven.

Up and up it soared into the air, larger than I could have imagined it being. So immense and terrifying and amazing was this creature, I could do nothing but stare as it reached further to the sky, it's size ever increasing. And the beast came crashing down upon me, darkening the sun, ending me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

91. Our Lady of Loreto

(mass times & church info last updated 03/14/2010)
Address: 18 Bleecker St. (2nd floor)
Phone: 212.431.9840
Weekend Mass Times: Sun: 11am
Weekday Mass Times: M-F: 8am
1892, (at an unknown time, the original church and school were replaced by an institutional-style building)
About the Organ
Our Lady of Loreto / Holy House of Loreto
NA Meeting info at the church


I finally found it. And it's the rarest of rarities.

Since my post last July, where I first attempted to visit this church, I've been wondering about Our Lady of Loreto. I could not locate it that day and stumbled luckily upon St. Michael's Russicum Church instead - on the perfect day, in the perfect mood at the perfect time (by the way, I wonder how they are all doing at St. Michael's: Ed, Augie and the rest...)

First, my thanks to Dave, who gave me a little info on this place prior to my visiting here.

Some comments left on my post that day revealed to me maybe that "...Our Lady of Loreto church is part of a school building on the corner of Elizabeth and Bleeker. Apparantly in 2003 it had the smallest Sunday Mass attendance in the Archdiocese with only 9 people attending..." and that "...OL of Loretto parish is not really a parish but is attached to Holy Name Center which has been a day and outreach program to the homeless for 70 years, so you may find information if you contact the Holy Name center....i think they kept it as a parish so that they could bury homeless me[n] from the bowery that we[re] catholic..." and "Fr. Ahern...has been there since being ordained in 1954. He knows the whole history of the church going back to 1926 there is still a chapel on site at 18 Bleecker St. The rest of the facility was torn down Fr. Ahern says Mass at 11:00am every Sunday."

This is, as stated by one of the parishioners today, the smallest parish in the archdiocese of New York. I was one of four other congegrates, the other three, Les, Teri, and Joan, being the regulars here. Since my previous (failed!) visit, I had learned the entrance was on Bleecker rather than Elizabeth and as I approached the doors at 18 Bleecker street, Fr. Ahern stood there on the steps, seemingly waiting for me, and any other passers or seekers looking for entrance.

I was told Fr. Ahern has been the pastor of this parish for the past 28 years. He has a calm, pleasant, dependable presence about him - a friendly, sharp, light of Christ sort of manner. I told him I'd tried to come once before but couldn't find the place. "We specialize in being hard to find," he laughed before Mass. He spoke with the three regulars right before and together they decided on an opening song: Blest Are They

We sang, the Mass was started, Les read both readings and the Responsorial Psalm, then Fr. Ahern read the Gospel, the parable of the Prodigal Son - all pretty uniform parts of Mass. But then something happened which made this parish stand out in my mind, made it far different than all the others churches I've visited, turning it instantly into a church that I will be sure to visit again in the future, will definitely come back to with visitors. Fr Ahern, instead of standing behind the pulpit and reciting some ten minute homily, walked a few steps, sat down in a chair, faced the four of us in the congregation and asked us what we thought of the Gospel. I was shy, reticent-but Les, Teri and Joan were all verbal and insightful. Along with the leadership and guidance of Fr. Ahern, a unique and valuable lesson formed amidst us and through us - the living Gospel. It was a religious teacher talking to us about a story of another religious teacher telling a parable. The literal and metaphorical. The father and the sons and the Father and the Son. Forgiveness. God doesn't just wait for us, but comes and gets us. Faith in our reality and the reality of our faith.

It was a refreshing way to partake of a homily - and not in one of those condescending ways I've experienced before where a priest will ask (basically rhetorical) questions to a congregation, waiting to receive the answers he is expecting. Today was an experience where we all truly reflected on the Word of God and the truth within.

Later, when it came time for the Our Father and the Eucharist, we all walked up to the altar (Les had forewarned me of this before Mass,) and we circled around it, the five of us saying the Lord's Prayer. Then, the Host was handed out, Ahern waiting himself, we all received at the same time - Communion.

It was a unique experience at Our Lady of Loreto this morning, and this goes immediately into my top ten churches in the city. I will definitely go back and definitely bring guests, and I highly highly highly suggest that if you live in the city or come for a visit, do not miss out on the experience of Sunday Mass here. So much simpler than one of those grand ornate churches I've written about previously and love so much, and yet so much more straightforward and to the point. I was really able to walk away from there with something today. And you will too.

If anyone is interested in attending Our Lady of Loreto's Easter Triduum this year, the times will be:

Holy Thursday: 7:30pm
Good Friday: 3pm
Easter Vigil: 7:30pm

Curiously, and pretty unrelated to anything else but I thought I'd include anyway, further research indicated Martin Scorcese might have attended Our Lady of Loreto when young...

The entrance on Bleecker...