Address: 440 E. 12 St.
Phone: 212.254.0058; Immaculate Conception: 212.254.0200
Weekend Mass Times: Sun: 10am, 11:30am (Spanish)
Nightly Rosary: 7pm(?)
"The Church Ladies" (New York Times)
Praying Outside Shuttered Doors
"Prayerful march to save what's left of East Village's churches" (The Villager)
About Mary Help of Christians
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
Traveling slowly (so many missed/nearly made trains and the stupid weekend local!) today down to the East Village to Mary Help of Christians church, I wondered if I would find it shut down, having to add it to my growing list of "CLOSED" churches. There was no answer at the phone number I found listed, no website -- nothing.
I visited here a few weeks ago on Ash Wednesday and it appeared all but boarded up. It was dreary that day in front of the church as I wandered around looking for some sign of life - eerily similar to what I found at Our Lady of Vilnius.
The sign listing Mass times read that Sunday Mass was at 10am, and at 11:30am in Spanish so I decided to come back to see. My little bit of research yielded that this church is nearly shut down, operated now by Immaculate Conception church on 14th street. But I didn't know for sure, didn't know what to expect.
Arriving at 440 East 12th street this morning, I found one of the front doors slightly ajar and wandered in. There was life after all! I was a few minutes late (of course,) so I walked in during the tail end of the sermon.
There was about 15 parishioners gathered (such a small number, the church seemed so empty - as if it was every bit on its way to being closed.) But it was bright, the Mass was said, and I was happy to be in attendance, happy to find this church still open, and not shuttered to the world, to those of us seekers needing a house of solace and a place of prayer, especially those living in the neighborhood. I have a feeling if I had attended the 11:30am Spanish Mass I might have found a larger, livelier crowd, a true Celebration.
A parishioner walking out of the church the same time as me today told me, "this church is just barely being kept alive."
My girlfriend and I visited Lady Liberty yesterday, even went inside her head. It was fantastic. Before yesterday I had only ever seen the statue as close as the Staten Island Ferry would allow, and now have finally realized a childhood fantasy of ascending those 354 steps to the crown. Its an amazing place in there, and reaching the top we found, not an over-tourist-populated hell, but a calm, peaceful place above the New York Harbor in which we could take everything in. The National Park rangers that run the place were all incredibly kind and informative (during the day we interacted with at least 6-7 of them and they were all so nice.) If you plan a trip to Liberty Island, you must visit the crown (if you can handle the stairs.) Tickets can be purchased in advance here.
We've had a good week together. The transition is becoming easier. If we are at peace and can be good to one another I know this is a relationship that will be deep and meaningful and good for both of us, as well as the rest of the world. And one I hope will last a very very long time.