I do not travel for work as much as I used to but when I do travel, I try to check out a local church. (One of the great things about Catholicism is that you can find a church almost anywhere!). Last weekend, when I was in New York for the American Teilhard Association annual meeting, I had the pleasure of attending the Vigil Mass at St. Charles Borromeo (SCB) in Harlem. SCB is a delightful church. The outside is an old-style Gothic structure and the inside was recently remodeled so it has a very modern, yet dignified feel.
It was raining Saturday so I decided to go into the Church early to pray and meditate. To my delight, they had Eucharistic Adoration. It was a beautiful setting and very reinvigorating after the Teilhard conference.
The Mass was dignified and beautiful. The celebrant, Fr. Marcel Chinedu Amadi, was a charismatic young priest who was very energetic and gave a wonderful homily. The parishioners were very open and welcoming and seemed to have a joy and zest for life. You could tell that the parish was vibrant and alive (which unfortunately can not be said of all parishes). After Mass, the Pastor, Rev. Gregory Chisholm, S.J. (a Jesuit!) had a nice speech and tribute to all mothers for Mother’s Day.
St. Charles Borromeo was a wonderful experience. Usually when I go to New York, I attend one of the churches in Manhattan. They are beautiful, but they often have an impersonal feel. There is a lot to be said for a vibrant neighborhood parish like SCB.