Artistic depiction of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Joseph's Church in New York City Artistic depiction of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Joseph's Church in New York City 

St. Joseph Church set to open first Perpetual Adoration Chapel in New York

From the initial concept to the most challenging stages, Fr. Boniface Endorf reflects on his project to organize the first Perpetual Adoration Chapel in the US city of New York, which is scheduled to open in June.

By Edoardo Giribaldi - New York City

While his parish community was approaching Easter celebrations last year, Fr. Boniface Endorf, pastor at St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village, located in the heart of New York City, realized that the project for the installation of the first perpetual adoration chapel in the city had come to a crossroads.

"I delayed the fundraising because I wasn't getting a lot of response and got busy with the preparations for the Triduum," he told Vatican News in an interview.

After the festivities, he sat down and said: "Alright God, if you want this to happen, you're gonna have to help me raise the money. I am beating my head against the wall."

The following Monday, Fr. Boniface received a call for a large donation, and every day that week, he got several other calls from people he had "never met," raising over half of the money needed for the construction. At that point, he sat down again: "Alright, God, we are moving forward; you answered that prayer."

First approach

Fr. Boniface’s first idea for the project came in 2020 when the Archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Outreach reached out to him, expressing the desire of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, to build the first perpetual adoration chapel in New York. “I said yes, and here we are, two years later,” Fr. Boniface affirmed.

'A beautiful place'

“We were looking for a beautiful place. We didn’t want just a table and a basement but something where people would walk in and encounter the presence of God through the beauty of the chapel,” he said.

The main church is designed in a Greek revival style, and for the chapel, designed by the architect Daniel A. Ezekiel Bala, “we wanted something that would harmonize with that, so we went for a plan for a Carolingian Romanesque period look but with classical elements in the space.”

Opening set for June

An international team will complete the project: an Italian contractor will supervise the general construction, and the artwork will come from Madrid. “We are waiting for the mosaics to arrive around April or May and hoping for a June opening,” Fr. Boniface said.

Difficulties and solutions

The initial difficulties in raising the money were not the only ones encountered throughout the entire project. "Construction is always tricky because there are so many details, and we wanted to make sure that everyone was 'talking' to each other."

“It’s strange; priests are always asked to be knowledgeable in so many fields. You just have to learn as you go, do the best you can, and trust that the Holy Spirit will help you through. And also have good advisors.”

Listen to an excerpt of the interview with Fr Boniface Endorf

Security and safety

Much effort was spent on security planning. "Because this is the middle of Manhattan, you can't just leave an open door. People will come to the parish office, and we will issue them a key card that will grant them access so that we can control who is in there, and people can feel safe as they enter the chapel," Fr. Boniface explained.

Encounter God

The chapel will be dedicated to the Divine Mercy, and Fr. Boniface’s hope is that “people will encounter God and be transformed by that encounter,” finding “the joy that God created them for.”

“Our Parish is mostly young adults and students, as we run college chaplaincy in many schools here in Manhattan. The hope for them is to start their works and lives and also encounter Christ and His mercy.”

Striving for happiness

Such an intimate and quiet place might appear opposite to the busy and striving nature of New York. However, according to Fr. Boniface, “what keeps us striving is the natural human impulse for happiness. Striving for whatever we think will make us happy, which is holiness.”

“What we are hoping here is that people will encounter what brings peace to their souls, a place where they can find the ultimate consummation of their own desires.”

The fresco of the Transfiguration in the main church, modeled after a piece in the Vatican painted by Raphael and believed to be the oldest true fresco in the United States.
The fresco of the Transfiguration in the main church, modeled after a piece in the Vatican painted by Raphael and believed to be the oldest true fresco in the United States.

Silence in an age of distraction

Fr. Boniface stressed the importance of silence, "especially in this age of distraction, tv, internet, and all the things that strive for our attention. If we don't leave an opening for God, how will He enter our lives? He will lead us out of the prison of our own selves, out of banging around our own heads, and will help us realize that he really is out there and desires to befriend us."

Future activities

The chapel will also host a list of activities, such as the Liturgy of the Hours, prayed with the Dominican Friars.

“We will add things on as time goes forward,” Fr. Boniface concluded. “We don’t want to over plan, but allow the Holy Spirit to organically shows us where He wants us to go.”

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18 February 2023, 08:00