MANHATTAN: Holy Innocents Church – Reprieve until Spring 2015?


I have been informed that “Breitbart was wrong”.

In a letter from the “Office of Strategic Pastoral Planning” of the Archd. of NY, one reads (inter alia):

[…] the Cardinal feels it is essential that he has more time to consider carefully and thoroughly evaluate all that has been handed over to him. Hence, the announcement of the Cardinal’s Making All Things New decisions will be postponed to the beginning of November.  The original date set to make the announcement was the end of September.

I was wondering about that March date, in the context of talking about the Synod, which only goes for part of October.

ORIGINAL 10 Sept 1802 GMT ____

My friends in New York and, frankly, all around the country, have been concerned about the fate of Holy Innocents Church in midtown Manhattan.  There have been lots of reports and much speculation that Holy Innocents was slated for closure.  The ideally-located Holy Innocents is the only church in Manhattan which has daily celebrations of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  Given that the parish is doing okay financially and that the community there is, under the influence of the Extraordinary Form, growing and becoming ever more vibrant and diverse, many people are puzzled at why closure would be considered.   No doubt there are many factors.

That said, I saw this today at Breitbart:


A source close to Timothy Cardinal Dolan has told Breitbart News the impending announcement about New York parish closings which could number as many as 60 has been held off until Cardinal Dolan returns from Rome in late March.
The source states that a meeting was supposed to have taken place over the past few days between Cardinal Dolan and his priest council so they could make the final decisions together. Dolan cancelled that meeting until further notice.
The source, who has been close to many Cardinal Archbishops of New York, suspects that the delay could have something to do with two unseemly controversies swirling around the Chancery office. First, there is the change in policy that allows organized gays to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade—this after consecutive prior Archbishops fought the idea successfully in court.
Second is the equally unseemly spat taking place between Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Daniel Jenky over who gets the body of Bishop Fulton Sheen, whose formal cause for Sainthood started more than a decade ago but was brought dramatically to a halt last week over which diocese gets the body of the family TV priest.
Maybe it was too much bad press to put 60 parish closings on top of an already bad week.

Whatever the motive for such a move, if true, it seems that Holy Innocents may have had a reprieve until Spring 2015.

Meanwhile, what sort of things take place at Holy Innocents?

  • You may recall that there are Sung Masses there three times (I think) every week.  They have well-attended Sung Vespers on Sunday.  St. Patrick’s Cathedral does not ever have Sung Vespers.
  • Recently, Holy Innocents hosted a Prayer Rally for Iraqi Christians.  The next one will be Friday, Sept. 12 after the 6 PM Mass (37th Street and Broadway).  There will be a March for Peace to nearby Herald Square!
  • You can check out the stories about Holy Innocents Church by  New York TimesNational Review OnlineRod DreherNational Catholic RegisterVoice of America, the NY Observer. I have written about Holy Innocents, HERE and HERE.
  • The well-known author and preacher Fr. George Rutler is the Administrator of Holy Innocents.
  • The altar-piece is by the painter Constantino Brumidi and it was recently restored to the tune of many thousands of dollars.

This parish is a model for the New Evangelization.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. benedetta says:

    I agree, Fr. Z. Such places are rare in these times yet vitally needed for the sake of especially our young people who will be shouldering quite a terrible burden publicly as Catholics in the world in the near future. Any place that takes their spiritual preparation seriously and to heart is exercising the highest form of mercy towards all. We need places like these so dearly, and more safe havens like it, to shelter those who have endured scars and have suffered greatly by culture warriors who only mean ill for Catholics and our Church, at the hands of the enemies of the Church, of which there are many in these times, all around. By supporting this beautiful parish I do not mean to say that others should be excluded from the mercy the Church offers — by no means! However, the truth is that some are animated, and have camped out, in surprising places, to deliver a different Gospel, and to harm and persecute ordinary Catholics just going about their lives. And some parishes declare a peculiar and distinctly partisan agenda, substituting it for the Faith. If in their wisdom our leaders feel some have a right to this, fair enough. However at the same time, let those who need it find peace the world cannot give in the few places where it is still to be found, encountered, encouraging.

  2. Latinmass1983 says:

    This is indeed good news because, at least for now, it gives the parishioners more time to worship and pray at this unique parish with a very active and vibrant community of faith.

    One of the very active parishioners had a conversation with Cardinal Dolan on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at the New York Athletic Club. At this meeting, the parishioner of Holy Innocents expressed his concerns for the future of Holy Innocents and the traditional community there. To everyone’s surprise, Cardinal Dolan said, “I hear they’ve got good numbers!” The parishioner confirmed what the Cardinal had heard, but then the Cardinal asked about the collections (finances).

    To this, the parishioner responded that he should know this because both the Reid and the Archdiocesan Advisory Group should have already provided him with this necessary information. And then the parishioner said, “It is my understanding that the finances are in the black and there are no debts or deficits. But since you seem not to have it, I will personally deliver it to your office.” This was done on Friday, September 5th, 2014. The parishioner even included a photo of himself so that the Cardinal would be more likely to remember him.

    Something that is missing in the list of things that take place at Holy Innocents (mainly because it is recent) is the fact that there is now a Spanish community. Most of them are Peruvians and belong to the Confraternities of St. Martin de Porres and/or El Señor de los Milagros. They attend the English Mass at 12:30pm on the first Sunday of the month. Since they have started to attend this Mass (with some of the readings and hymns in Spanish, but still mostly everything else is in English), they have added 50-60 people to the attendance. I am sure that if they were to attend Mass there every Sunday, the attendance for that Mass would increase even more … but it also seems to be the case that having a Mass completely in Spanish (because that is the language with which these parishioners feel more comfortable) would really make them feel fully at home at Holy Innocents.

    This past Sunday (9/7/14) after the 12:30pm, these two Confraternities organized an outdoors procession. Here are pictures of that and some details of the reactions of the people walking by:

  3. Legisperitus says:

    If anyone is “Making All Things New,” it’s Holy Innocents. I hope and pray they are spared the headsman’s axe. Otherwise, they’ll be casualties of an Orwellian thought-cleansing. To use “making all things new” as a warrant for extirpating the old Mass is no different from using “every child a wanted child” as a warrant for abortion.

    I’m reminded of Logan’s Run, where all the 30-year-olds float upwards in the big arena and explode, while the eager young crowd shouts “Renew! Renew!” in the vain hope that someone will have earned a “renewal” this time.

  4. Juergensen says:

    If homosexuals started attending Mass at Holy Innocents in droves, no way would it be closed.

  5. I think the “too much bad press all at once” angle is probably a big part of it. They are probably looking for some sort of good press to emerge as a cover and a time when fewer people will be paying attention. If they could get both at once, that would be ideal. Still, bad news is bad news, regardless of when it is released. Eventually, someone tries to open the locked door at his closed church.

  6. No More Tambourines says:

    This is certainly good news. A short reprieve is better than none. I have been attending Holy Innocents for the past four years and I have noticed a marked increase in attendance.

    I pray every day that the Holy Spirit will guide Cardinal Dolan as he makes these difficult decisions. My own feeling (and I admit to having no inside information) is that His Eminence isn’t hostile to the extraordinary form as much as he is indifferent to it. I hope I am right and I pray it stays open.

  7. benedetta says:

    Places like Holy Innocents offer a much needed refuge for world weary travelers. And an oasis for those who have been mercilessly driven away from their would be spiritual homes, particularly for standing up to the elites on behalf of the unborn, who due to corruption, self interests, and partisan politics, cannot stomach the idea that even one child be saved from the abortionists ax, particularly on the Dem party’s watch which controls all of NYC media and what now passes for “culture” there. So much effort has been invested to take over parishes in the name of corruption and party politics, and to target individuals for defending the unborn. After all is said and done for all of that, the Dem party could have fed and cared for the half of babies of color who have been sacrificed under Obama’s incitement and instrumentalization of parishes for his causes, never to be permitted a voice in our society. If Holy Innocents is eliminated and the party hack headquarter type parishes left to “thrive”, Catholicism will of course not die, but of course eventually the poor souls remaining in places of that sort feeding upon what is passed off as the faith will destroy each other. Perhaps some would be just as happy to see that come to pass but I for one do not think any human being deserves that sort of fate, no matter their viciousness towards innocent people.

  8. SonofMonica says:

    It’s time to stop mincing words. To close this church would be an act of grave evil.

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