NEW YORK, Oct. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting next Thursday, October 27th, the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary as a Jesuit (Society of Jesus) parish with a four-day series of events. Located on New York City's Upper East Side, this Roman Catholic parish was entrusted to the Jesuit order in 1866, making it the Jesuits' first major apostolate in the Yorkville neighborhood of New York. Since then, 35 Jesuits have been installed as pastors, leading the parish through times of profound change, milestone events and significant growth.
The building stands on the site of the former St. Lawrence O'Toole Church, founded in 1851 and named for a twelfth-century bishop of Dublin. In the church's early years, parishioners were primarily German and Irish Catholic immigrant families. Today, St. Ignatius is a vibrant faith community with more than 4,300 registered families, reflecting demographic changes of the city and capturing the ethnic diversity of the Upper East Side.
"This significant anniversary celebrates the gift of faith, embraces the enduring tradition of Ignatian ministry and gives thanks for the longevity that has truly blessed St. Ignatius Loyola. One hundred fifty years doesn't happen by chance," said Father Dennis J. Yesalonia, S.J., Pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola. "The legacy that started with the first generation of Jesuits in 1866 and continues to this day is a testament to vision, perseverance, prayer and an abundance of grace," he added.
St. Ignatius Loyola is one of 66 Jesuit parishes operating in the United States. The church attracts attendees from all over New York City and nearby suburbs. Its inclusive approach offers a wide range of ministries, services and programs geared towards children, teens, young adults and families.
Since its inception, St. Ignatius has been an enduring symbol of faith, withstanding the test of time to evolve, grow and meet the challenges and needs of the community that it serves. In all of its outreach activities, the church collaborates with other Christian Churches and non-Christian Religious Congregations on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and beyond to reach those in need.
In addition to its liturgies (three weekday masses; seven on the weekends) and sacraments, the parish delivers an extensive list of programs covering faith formation, community outreach and religious education. Their 'Ignite!' program is the only Catholic youth ministry in Manhattan.
A popular lecture series takes place throughout the year, featuring noted speakers addressing a variety of relevant issues and topics.
In 1993, the church installed a mechanical (tracker-action) pipe organ as an integral part of its services and the centerpiece of its renowned music program. Dedication of the custom-built, handcrafted organ took place after 18 months of meticulous planning and construction by the firm N.P. Mander.
With 5,000 pipes and weighing 30 tons, it is the largest tracker organ in New York. One of the most complex of all musical instruments, the tracker organ sits in the back of the church, fitting inside a 160-foot-by-78-foot space of the St. Ignatius basilica.
"From the outset, St. Ignatius has stayed true to its roots, ministering in the Ignatian way of prayer, community and service," noted Father Yesalonia. "In reflecting on our past, we are reminded that we are called and blessed by God's grace to be a community of true disciples, gathered in prayer and worship, to meet the needs of our parishioners and be available to provide assistance to all who approach us. We look forward to future with the same faith, confidence and hope that has sustained us over the last 150 years."
All are welcome to attend any of the four-day celebrations listed below. Additional details are provided in the church's Event Guide:
Thursday, Oct. 27th
7pm / Wallace Hall Lecture
Fr. Thomas Lucas, S.J.
"The Long Road from Rome to Park Avenue:
City, Church & Jesuit Urban Mission"
Friday, Oct. 28th
7pm / Church concert
Ticket purchase: www.smssconcerts.org
Music from 18th-century Jesuit composer, Domenico Zipoli
Saturday, Oct. 29th
11am – 3pm / 84th & Park Ave
Family Street Fair
Sunday, Oct. 30th
11am / Solemn Mass
Historical Timeline (Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, 1866-2016)
Images (High-resolution photos of Church interior; more available upon request)
By The Numbers (Facts about the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola)
About the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (NYC)
The Parish of St. Ignatius Loyola is a vibrant Roman Catholic faith community administered by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Located on New York City's Upper East Side at Park Avenue and 84th Street, the parish was entrusted to the care of the Society of Jesus in 1866, marking the Jesuits' first major apostolate in the Yorkville area of New York. Staffed by Jesuit priests and lay men and women, the Parish offers a wide range of ministries, including daily and weekly masses, celebration of the sacraments and education opportunities. Renowned for its music programs and acoustics, St. Ignatius owns the largest mechanical tracker organ in New York, weighing 30 tons and having 5,000 pipes. The parish is part of a 3.5-acre Jesuit complex that includes a Jesuit residence, reception hall, rectory, day nursery, elementary school and Loyola School, an independent, four-year, co-ed Jesuit high school. The church is a designated New York City Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Learn more about St. Ignatius Loyola at http://www.stignatiusloyola.org/.
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SOURCE Church of St. Ignatius Loyola