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.


  1. I've been reading your blog for over a year now with tremendous interest and appreciation. It's been a real eye-opener to see the countless parishes of Manhattan -- I wasn't really aware how many churches there were here. I've been investigating churches on my own and will be curious to know where you will decide to settle down. Keep up the good work. any thoughts about what you will write about when you're finished?

  2. I grew up with my family's church right across the street from our house which, though annoying to an average rebellious youth, was so convenient. Ultimately I think I'm going to go with proximity - I live in W. Heights/Inwood so will probably settle on Mother Cabrini Chapel or Church of the Good Shepherd - both somewhat close and unique in their own ways.

    This journey has been a blessing and these anonymous blog posts have allowed me to rattle on and on about God knows what for 2 1/2 years. As far as what to write next...I have no ideas.

    Do you?

  3. Well perhaps -- as maybe you mentioned earlier -- you'd consider covering another borough? I live in Brooklyn and I've contemplated a project similar to yours for the "borough of churches" but it's rather daunting.

    another thought: many of the churches you've visited don't have their own websites, it seems; so maybe you could offer to help them with that?

    regardless of topic I hope you will continue to write/blog, etc, because you've got an interesting perspective to offer.

  4. I have been attending daily Mass and Communion at Holy Redeemer on and off for two months, staying with friends on East Second and First Avenue.

    Today, Sunday, the feast of the Assumption, I brought my camera and took some pictures. I met two people from the parish and inquired about, among other things, the church organ. I was told that it has been silent for thirty years. I mentioned that my old parish in Brooklyn, Holy Innocents, had the good fortune to have its organ rehabilitated thanks to a foundation grant and the efforts of a certain individual.

    They replied that Holy Redeemer was more in need of a roof repair and the estimated cost was a half million dollars.

    Holy Innocents also needed roof repair, but the momentum that came from the organ rehab carried through to the building's structural needs.

    I feel that Holy Redeemer's organ is a good candidate for an overhaul after thirty years of silence. Is there any foundation or wealthy individual out there who would be interested in this project?

  5. Holy Innocents Church in Brooklyn secured funding for rehabilitating its organ. That project's momentum carried through to finance repairs to the building's roof and other renewal work.
    Are there any foundations or wealthy individuals who would be interested in funding rehab at Holy Redeemer?

  6. Visited the church today to see St. Datian. Very moving but can find no further information on this "saint". LF

  7. Andrew,

    Regarding the mysterious St. Datian, I followed-up on a link you had posted to "Adam's Ale" and disovered that an anonymous commenter
    had written the following on June 04, 2010:

    "--Anonymous said...
    St. Datian was the jailor of St. Vincent of Sarragasso Martyred in 304. Datian, also spelled Dacian who had ordered Vincents torture,instantly converted when a beam of light blew the doors to the dungeon and Vincent's cell and angels surrounded him as he died. Datian was later martyred himself.
    I have often visited St. Datian myself and find it sad that the story of a fellow christian who was so highly regarded as to have been declared a Saint has been erased from institutional memory of the Church."

    If this information is correct, and St. Datian is also the "Dacian" who was the Roman pro-consul who executed St. Vincent (and apparently St. George as well), then this would be another artistic representation of him in his other, sinful guise:


    St. Datian is still a very great mystery... perhaps you might try asking the Vatican Library if they have any more information about him.

    Supposedly he was brought to New York from Rome in April, 1894.

    Yes, Andrew, if you are still curious about the matter I would suggest asking the Vatican Library directly.

    best regards,

    John Killarney

  8. Love the site. My great-grandparents were married in Most Holy Redeemer on 20 May 1893. It is wonderful to be able to see the church that lead to a family of 14 children.

  9. I went to Holy Redeemer school-late 50s. We were told ST. Datian saved some relics during a fire in the church. Don't know if this is true.