Saturday, July 26, 2008

35. St. Francis de Sales

(mass times & church info last updated 04/04/2016)
Address: 135 E. 96th St. (between Park and Lexington)
Phone: 212.289.0425
Weekend Mass Times: 
Sat: 5pm (English, Congregation-led singing)
Sun: 9am (English, cantor), 11am (English, choir), 12:30pm (Spanish), 6pm (English, cantor)
Weekday Mass Times: 
Mon-Fri: 8:30am (English)
Confession: Sat: 4pm-4:45pm
Official Website
St. Francis de Sales Church
About the Organ
St. Francis de Sales

After an afternoon spent at the Guggenheim staring at the breasts and phalluses of the current Louise Bourgeois exhibit, I attended St. Francis de Sales church on 96th street. As you may know, often lately I have had trouble attaining my peace on these ventures - but something happened when I entered this church that settled some of the things within. There was some peace there that I discovered and whether it originated internal or external I'm not sure. Could have been the few hours at the museum which relaxed my soul and readied me for the scriptures and sacraments. Could have been the tranquility of this church itself. It is a nice little church, decorated nicely with art and sculpture - and there is a calm inside it that is more than just the delicious air conditioning. You know how you can sometimes walk into some of these churches and just feel distressed by being there - some of them are so large or commanding or something, and they can make one feel small and stressed. Not this one. There is something easy about being there - and I found it quite easy to listen to the readings and homily as well - all of which were excellent. So, yes, I was able to have some much needed calm, reflection, prayer and peace yesterday - and maybe if you ever wander into this church you will find the same someday as well.

It was the feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim (parents of Mary) and as I was leaving the I noticed, hidden away in the entrance way of the church, a wonderful statue of St. Anne and the child Mary.

Following Mass I went to the new X-Files movie with a friend. Surprisingly there are a lot of Catholic issues brought up, or at least mentioned in the narrative of the film, not least of which is the story of a main supporting character, a repentant excommunicated psychic priest. The film also touches upon stem cell research and even gay marriage - though not in depth by any means, still someone out there could easily fit this film within some kind of dissertation on the Church in film.

I have found a lot of refuge at the movies lately - and I see myself a lot lately favoring anything resembling a spiritual story line. I'll argue that it's definitely there in the X-Files movie, as well as in Hellboy II, a film which is thoroughly enjoyable and surprisingly deep and meaningful in a lot of ways - at least to me. I expect to find this in The Dark Knight as well when I get around to seeing it.

All these films are on my mind a lot lately - I guess a result of the monstrous deluge of advertising thrown at us from all of them. Film was also on the mind of the pastor of St. Francis de Sales when he wrote for this week's bulletin:
Writing about The Dark Knight "... At a time when people are so sick and tired with the colossal mismanagement of this country, they take refuge in movie theaters...the epic struggle against good and evil gives millions of Americans the opportunity to dream away their troubles, escape painful reality and daydream about a far away world where all evil is vanquished and good, ordinary people like us instead of being the ones who always get it in the neck are for once victorious and come up on top."
Karl Marx long ago said "Religion is the opiate of the masses." I wonder if now movies have replaced religion in this respect? The masses are no longer filling up pews, but multiplexes.


  1. Thank you so much for this website. I love these Churches and your story.

  2. As of February 22, 2015, the televised Sunday Mass (Passionist Fathers) now comes from this church of St. Francis de Sales. As usual, the singing and preaching was excellent. The congregation was provided by Xavier High School, 16th Street. I suspect that these Masses are taped during the week, but nevertheless they are most appropriate for people who are imprisoned by ice. Thanks for your views of the church. I will have to find it open someday and check it out. I suspect that zoom lenses are sometimes used on the tv cameras, with a result that one gets a jumbled impression of the church on a flat screen rather than visiting it in person.