Early All Saints Day Celebration at Sts. Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael's
dim. 28 octobre à 15:00
It's the Sunday before All Saints Day so we'll celebrate with a morning Mass at the New York church with the most saints' names: Sts. Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael on West 41st Street. Since 1974, this church has operated as a Croatian National Parish, though as you might guess from the name it was created from the merger of two west side parishes. Sts. Cyril & Methodius was formed in 1913 to serve a growing Croatian community that had been emigrating to New York and settling in this neighborhood. Father Ambrozij Širca, a Croatian-speaking Austrian, had arrived in New York three years earlier and tried unsuccessfully to establish Croatian parishes in New York and Hoboken. But he did celebrate Croatian Masses at the Italian St. Clare's church on West 36th Street (razed as part of the Lincoln Tunnel construction in the 1930s and merged with St. Raphael's). Father Širca was assigned to the Slovak parish of St. Michael's in Rockland Lake, NY in 1912. Two Croatian priests, Father Irenej Petričakas and Father Placid Belavić arrived in 1913 and resumed the celebration of Mass in Croatian at St. Clare's. After the first Croatian Mass drew an overflow crowd, the Archdiocese allowed the priests to establish a new Croatian parish. Sts. Cyril & Methodius was born just five weeks later in a small disused protestant church at 552 W. 50th St., named after the 9th century Greek sibling saints, known as the Apostles to the Slavs. The Croatian parish thrived and grew with an influx of Croatian refugees from the former Yugoslavia after World War II. In 1971, the parish established the St. Nikola Tavelić Croatian Center in the former St. Raphael's church hall on West 40th Street. That same year, Croatian Masses were celebrated at St. Raphael's. Finally in 1974, the two parishes were merged into one, headquartered at St. Raphael's on W. 41st. The old church was renovated extensively for the next three years. Sts. Cyril and Methodius' original church building on West 50th was sold to the Bulgarian Orthodox church and is now known as Sts. Kyril and Metodi. As for St. Raphael's, the parish was carved out from St. Michael's and Holy Cross parishes in 1886. After multiple temporary churches were used, including a converted soda water factory, the current church was built from 1901 to 1903. The parish initially served a mostly Irish community in that neighborhood. Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan grew up in St. Raphael's. But by 1935, construction of the Lincoln Tunnel and realignment of the West Side Line railroad tracks had decimated much of the neighborhood's housing stock, forcing many of St. Raphael's parishioners to move elsewhere. The neighborhood became desolate and would become best known decades later as the home of the Covenant House shelter. Though the impressive twin-spired French Gothic church remained as a familiar landmark to drivers emerging from the Lincoln Tunnel, the parish was effectively closed and made a mission of Holy Innocents parish on West 37th Street, until its merger with Sts. Cyril & Methodius nearly 40 years later, in 1974. In more recent years, this parish served as a major collection point for Bosnian War relief efforts during the 1990s. Mass is at 10 a.m. and is the sole English language Mass offered at this church. Join us for brunch afterwards at Scallywag's on 9th Avenue.