Photographer's Note

About the photo
It was Sunday morning when I took this photo. We wre going to take the subway to Grand Central, but first I would visit this church. The church was very full and I did not want to disturb the Mass, so I took the photo from behind the door so you can see some reflections on the glass door.
I am not a devotee of the saint, but I really admires his work.

Church Location
St. Francis of Assisi located at
135 W. 31st Street
New York, NY 10001
Between 6th and 7th Avenues

Church History
In 1844 the area once known as Bloomingdale was still a neighborhood of dirt roads and modest frame houses. Father Zachary Kunz, a Hungarian Franciscan priest, was faced with a dilemma. As pastor of St. John the Baptist Church on West 30th Street, he found himself standing outside an empty church – closed by the bishop of New York over a dispute with the parish’s lay trustees.

Not wanting to leave his faithful parishioners without a place of worship, Father Zachary petitioned the bishop to open a new church. Within a short time he managed to purchase a piece of property only a short distance away from St. John’s. The cornerstone of the new church on West 31st Street was laid by Bishop John McCloskey on May 9, 1844. Father Zachary decided to dedicate the new edifice to St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of peacemakers.

Within a few months the new church was completed and services began. During the next forty years the parish grew and prospered. By 1890 the need for a new and larger church became apparent to its pastor, Father Ludger Beck. Father Ludger presented his plans to his parishioners and received their full support. He next petitioned Archbishop Michael Corrigan for a loan of $15,000 against an estimated $60,000 construction cost. The sum was readily granted, and with the advent of the summer of 1892, the new church was completed.

The grand dedication ceremonies too place on Sunday, July 17, 1892. Archbishop Corrigan blessed the church and consecrated the three altars. Archbishop Winand M. Wigger of Newark, who had grown up across the street from the original church, delivered the sermon. He was also the donor of a large stained glass window dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.

For over 100 years, the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi has been more than just a house of worship in midtown Manhattan. It has served as the focal point for untold numbers of people seeking a place of compassion, inspiration, comfort, nourishment and education. Guided by the spirit of Il Poverello, the little poor man of Assisi, we are confident that St. Francis Church will continue to stand well into the 21st century and beyond as a beacon of faith, hope and love.


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Additional Photos by Andre Bonavita (bona) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1348 W: 122 N: 2844] (13739)
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