Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The New York Catholic Church Part III: The Old Cathedral Today

Today, St. Patrick's Old Cathedral is a lively parish church at the center of downtown New York's SOHO, Little Italy, and Chinatown neighborhoods. True to its history, it serves a large immigrant community which, today, largely consists of Italian-Americans, Dominican-Americans, and Chinese-Americans. It has a full schedule of Masses throughout the week, and boasts Masses in three different languages on Sundays.

The church has recently taken on several renovation projects to maintain its status as a landmark and to preserve its rich history in the heart of Old New York in honor of its 2009-2015 anniversary campaign. Last summer, newly appointed Archbishop Timothy Dolan celebrated Mass at the old cathedral to kick off the anniversary campaign, complete with a celebratory parade up Mott Street, which included Civil War reenactments and several floats, one of which was of a scale model of the cathedral.

On Saint Patrick's day of this year, Pope Benedict XVI honored Archbishop Dolan's request to declare the old cathedral a minor basilica, which makes it the first and only basilica in New York.

The church has an active youth ministry along with a close relationship with the Sisters of Life, founded by John Cardinal O'Connor, who meet interested parties for Mass on the first Saturday morning of every month, and then head to pray in front of abortion clinics. Next to the cathedral is the church's Russian Catholic Chapel, which serves the small community of Russian Rite Catholics.

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