Saturday, October 9, 2010

*BROOKLYN: St. Francis Xavier (Park Slope)

Address: 225 6th Ave. (Brooklyn - Park Slope)
Phone: 718.638.1880 
Weekend Mass Times:
Sat: 5pm
Sun: 9:30am (Children's Liturgy), 12:15pm 
Weekday Mass Times:
Mon-Thurs: 9am
Fri: 9am (Communion Service)
Sat: 9am 
Confession: Sat: 4:30-4:45pm 
Constructed: 1886

Brooklyn Catholic Entry
Wikipedia: St. Francis Xavier
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Francis Xavier

Well she drug me down, Tossed me 'round,
Slammed my name all over town,
My good gal ain't no good to me, She makes true love more like misery
Now I'm walkin' hunched, I get drunk a bunch,
So would you sucker up and take a punch
My good gal ain't no good to me, And I think I've acted reasonably
Ah, but I miss her, And all that I wish from her
- Old Crow Medicine Show

Its been awhile since my last post and I've been intending to visit the other boroughs all summer long, but now it's fall and I'm only just finally getting around to it.  Choosing just one church per borough is tough, because I don't know the neighborhoods as well as Manhattan, and so have begun choosing churches at random or based solely on having walked by buildings of interest.

Back at the tail end of last year I walked by Park Slope's St. Francis Xavier on my way to a party. Keen to places of worship, as soon as I noticed the stone exterior in the cold of a December snow storm, I looked up, immediately overwhelmed by this behemoth. Towering and intimidating it stood, and yet was intriguing and inviting all at once. And so I headed there this evening, intending to hit the 4:30pm confession (something I'm in overwhelming need of at the moment) and stumbled in (due to irritating weekend train traffic and my own procrastination) a half hour late to Mass, wondering what I would come up with to write, in the first of these final, supplemental posts of this blog.

It's a beautiful church, and though does not rival any of the masterpieces I discovered in Manhattan, is very pretty all the same, a classic late 19th century cruciform church. The congregation (not coming close to filling up the pews during this Saturday Vigil Mass,) was what one might expect to find on a Saturday in a church in Park Slope: older people and young couples and families, strollers, etc.

It's been a nice break since my last church post last Easter, in which I had time to organize these pages to allow visitors ease of search and had the chance to take better photos of some of the destinations visited early on. I suppose my life ain't too bad right now - my job continues to go well, I am much happier in that department than I was a year ago. My romantic life, though, is in the toilet. My girlfriend, now ex, the only person in the world I have shared the secrecy of this blog with (besides those friends of mine who I become paranoid from time to time may have discovered it through other means,) though I do not believe she has actually ever read it, nor intends to, fearing what I may have said about her or others in this online diary (diarrhea,) and I broke up over the summer. Truly the worst break-up I've ever been through (and still going through.) I did the breaking, at least officially, realizing our 9 months together had subjected me to daily rejection on scales both minimum and max. I really couldn't take the pain of that relationship any longer. It was so dark there. Painful. The trauma of which I am still getting over.

Someone asked me the other day if I was still in the process of licking my wounds, or starting to look again. I responded, neither, that I was somewhere in between. I would no sooner hurry into something so agonizing again than I would throw myself off a steep cliff or onto a bed of daggers.  But I am lonely. It sinks in deeper each day, days I don't know what to do with myself. But as I see girls out on the streets, or in subways, or restaurants and bars, my first reaction, after being initially attracted to them, is to wonder if down below their pretty looks or sweet eyes, down deep somewhere, lurks more pain. My trust in others and in my own judgment of them dwindles, evaporating with my feelings of mistrust toward those in my past and phantoms of my future, and I wonder and fear if some day a ways away it will have died out completely.

I use this blog to pour out my thoughts feelings and fears into the websphere (hopefully) anonymously, always somewhat over-exaggerating my mindset and woes. In life I am not so depressed or melancholy, though am prone to what a good friend recently described as artistic brooding. The trick, he said, is to be able to find God in this brooding, or more appropriately labeled, contemplation. So recently in my sadness, I look for a quiet place in which to seek the Almighty.

winter comes and snow, i can't marry you, you know
without you the winter grows, i can't marry you, you know
love me the way i love you, love me the way i love you
take a year in your hands, you can find another man
let your unloved parts get loved, i will be your man
love me the way i love you, love me the way i love you
places you should be afraid, into the river we will wade
love me the way i love you, love me the way i love you
-Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Friday, October 8, 2010

* C.S. Lewis slams me

A friend pointed out this passage to me recently from C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters in which a demon from hell is writing to another demon, explaining ways in which it is possible to tempt humans towards sin, and direct them to activities that lead to sin, including even, it seems, church hopping (from chapter 16):

Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that 'suits' him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches...
The search for a 'suitable' church makes the man a critic where the Enemy [GOD] wants him to be a pupil. What He wants of the layman in church is an attitude which may, indeed, be critical in the sense of rejecting what is false or unhelpful, but which is wholly uncritical in the sense that it does not appraise—does not waste time in thinking about what it rejects, but lays itself open in uncommenting, humble receptivity to any nourishment that is going...So pray bestir yourself and send this fool the round of the neighbouring churches as soon as possible.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

*Art Show at Church of St. Paul the Apostle

There is currently an art exhibit through the rest of the month at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, near Columbus Circle. This video was originally posted on There are some really beautiful shots of the church here.