Monday, September 29, 2014

The Other Boroughs

The Bronx
Staten Island

Sunday, September 14, 2014

*BRONX: St. Nicholas of Tolentine

(mass times & church info last updated 09/15/2014) 
Address: 2345 University Ave., Bronx, NY
Phone: 718.295.6800
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 7pm (Spanish)
Sun: 8am (English), 9:30am (Spanish), 11:15am (English), 12:45pm (Bilingual Family Mass Sept-June), 4pm (Vietnamese)
Weekday Mass Times: 
M-F: 8:30am (Spanish), 12:10pm (English)
Thu, Sat: 7:45am (Vietnamese)
Sat: 4-5pm and at the Parish Office by appointment
Sun: 3:30-4pm (Vietnamese)
Constructed: 1906-1907
Post-Mass Activity: Walking a mile and a half to the New York Botanical Garden located in the Bronx

About the Organ
Bronx Catholic Review
Suspicious Blaze Breaks Out
Wikipedia Page

Over four years ago when I finished my Manhattan journey and began thinking about visiting one or two churches from each of the other boroughs, having no knowledge whatsoever of Bronx churches, I contacted the man behind Bronx Catholic and asked his opinion of which one church I should select and attend in the Bronx.  He replied naming four different Bronx parishes that would be very much worth my while, with the caveat, "It is the worshiping community that gives a church its resonance, a resonance of praise. Some Bronx church interiors may be bland or boxy, but that is secondary to the worship."

It's obviously taken me a great deal of time to follow his advice, but I finally decided to make the journey to the Bronx and attend St. Nicholas of Tolentine. (See a few brief notes about the other 3 choices at the bottom of this post.)

For starters, here's what Bronx Catholic said about the church of St. Nicholas of Tolentine:
The upper church was completed after World War II.  Given the opportunity, I would choose a Vietnamese Mass or a trilingual Mass.

This church is massive! Just approaching it on foot from the west, it suddenly seems to appear out of nowhere, and then towers above everything else.

My wife and I, (yes, in the past 4 years I did indeed meet a beautiful and lovely lady who did me the honor, favor and privilege of saying "yes" to me, and who occasionally joins me on some Sunday morning ventures,) walked here from our place in uptown Manhattan. It was a great walk on one of the first cool and crisp days this fall. We arrived at the enormous structure, made our way around the building to the front where the doors were open and Mass was about to begin.

Oddly enough, it turned out that they were actually celebrating the feast of their patron saint, St. Nicholas of Tolentine, this weekend and the intro procession included some beautiful and pretty cool kites that appeared to be either angels or spirits or the Holy Spirit or all of the above:

After the Mass ended, in honor of the feast, there was a 30 minute organ concert performed by the parish's organist on the enormous and breathtaking organ:

This was such a picturesque and beautiful early fall/late summer day. The sun was shining. Mass was nice. And my wife and I enjoyed our walks around the city and through the Bronx.

She has been a light in my life and has taught me the importance and joy of love and affection, kindness and sweetness. It's nice to have her with me at the very tail end of this journey. For it is truly and finally coming to a close. Most of the churches have all been viewed. And we are probably not long for this great and terrible city, this monstrous metropolis.

Here are the other churches suggested by Bronx Catholic:

St. Jerome
Here's what Bronx Catholic said:
The eye of the Lord was blue and is now brown.  Some parishioners and former parishioners saved the church from closure.  (St. Jerome's is the easiest to reach from midtown: #6 train to Third Avenue and 138th Street.)
For the Bronx Catholic review, click here.  For the NYCago organ page, click here.

St. Anselm
Here's what Bronx Catholic said:
Interior that it is romanesque.
For the Bronx Catholic review, click here.

Immaculate Conception
Here's what Bronx Catholic said:
The interior is ornate, but not baroque.  Off-hours, one can visit the church by passing through the rectory.  A glass wall blocks one from moving forward into the pews (off-hours, that is,) but one can see the church.  This parish is German, Bavarian, or Austrian in heritage.  Do not confuse this parish with Immaculate Conception, Gun Hill Road.  (This is the Redemptorists church, in Melrose, one block north on East 150th Street, just north of the 149th Street (Third Avenue station of the #2 and #5 train.)  The intersection of 149th Street, Third Avenue, and Melrose Avenue is known as The Hub (of The Bronx.))
For the Bronx Catholic review, click here.

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Special thanks to Bronx Catholic for all his help.
Ok, so that's enough Bronx churches for me.

And ahhhh shit...
Now I have to go to Staten Island...