|The first Immaculate|
505 East 14th Street
As the story goes, New York's Archbishop John Hughes was standing a few feet away from Pope Pius IX in Rome when the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was first promulgated on December 8, 1854. "Just at that moment," Hughes later recalled, "I resolved, on my return to New York, to erect a church to commemorate the event." The cornerstone for Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was laid on December 8, 1855: exactly one year after Archbishop Hughes' had decided to build the parish. The beautiful Romanesque building was finally dedicated on May 16, 1858 by the archbishop, who declared it to be "the first church on earth set apart to honor the immaculate nature of the Mother of Christ."
|The first Immaculate Conception Catholic Church as it looked in 1914|
|Brother Aloysius' class at Immaculate Conception Catholic School, abt. 1917-1919|
|This map shows the sites of the original and current |
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (click to enlarge)
The church website states:
"In many ways, New York City is America’s front door, even though
most of the newest residents come not only from Europe but from all over the world. This is the city’s gift to the parish: a remarkably multi-ethnic, multi-cultural population, whose hearts burn with the same ambition: to create a better life for themselves, their children and their descendants.
"Above the church door, there is a small but exquisite statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the first Immaculate Conception Church. The expression on her face is neither joyful nor sad; it is pensive. What could she be thinking? Is she calling all those men, women and children who have passed beneath her feet?"
|Immaculate Conception Catholic Church today |
(Notice the small statue of Mary from the original
church building above the church doors)
For more information about the history of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, visit the church's website or refer to From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship by David Dunlap.
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