Corpus Christi Church (New York City)

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Corpus Christi Church
Corpus Christi Church is located in New York
Corpus Christi Church
Corpus Christi Church
40°48′40.01″N 73°57′38.78″W / 40.8111139°N 73.9607722°W / 40.8111139; -73.9607722Coordinates: 40°48′40.01″N 73°57′38.78″W / 40.8111139°N 73.9607722°W / 40.8111139; -73.9607722
Location533-535 West 121st Street, New York City, NY 10027
CountryUnited States
DenominationRoman Catholic
FoundedMay 1906 (parish)
Architect(s)F. A. de Meuron (1906 church)[1][2]
Thomas Dunn and Frederick E. Gibson (1930 church& rectory)[2]
Wilfred E. Anthony (1935 church)[2]
Architectural typeEnglish Baroque
Baroque Revival
Construction cost$45,000 (1906)[1]
ArchdioceseRoman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Pastor(s)Rev. Daniel O’Reilly
Rev. Raymond M. Rafferty (emeritus)
Organist/Director of musicLouise Basbas
Director of musicLouise Basbas
Organist(s)Louise Basbas

The Church of Corpus Christi is a Roman Catholic parish church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located on West 121st Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, New York City. The parish was established in 1906.[4][3][5] The parish priest is concurrently the Catholic chaplain at the nearby Columbia University.


The church, founded by Rev. John H. Dooley, was built in 1906–1907 as a brick and stone chapel and three-storey parish house, all over basement, to designs of F. A. de Meuron of Main Street, Yonkers, New York, for $45,000.[1] The structure was a five-bay three-storey Beaux-arts brick school house with a stone-quoined breakfront occupying the central three bays that contained a temporary church and rectory. The new church, school, and rectory cornerstone was laid on November 11, 1906, and the structure was dedicated June 30, 1907 by Archbishop John Farley.[3]

These buildings were replaced in 1930 with a new church and rectory built 1930 to the designs by Thomas Dunn and Frederick E. Gibson.[2] The current church, school, and convent were dedicated on October 25, 1936.[3] The church was designed in 1935 by Wilfred E. Anthony.[2] The current baptistery survives from F. A. de Meuron's original 1906 church.[3]

Although the classical exterior of the church is not prepossessing, the interior is widely admired. Time Out New York calls it "gorgeous,"[6] while the AIA Guide to NYC urges passersby to enter and admire a sanctuary that looks as though it was designed by a disciple of Sir Christopher Wren.[7]

The parish school opened in September 1907, staffed by the Sisters of Charity of New York. The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, were welcomed to the school in 1936.

Notable events[edit]

On November 16, 1938, Thomas Merton was baptized at Corpus Christi Church and received Holy Communion.[8]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Office for Metropolitan History, "Manhattan NB Database 1900-1986," (Accessed 25 Dec 2010).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Dolkart, Andrew S. (1998). Morningside Heights: A History of its Architecture and Development. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-231-07850-4. OCLC 37843816.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Liturgy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-28. Retrieved 2011-01-19. HISTORY OF CORPUS CHRISTI CHURCH] (Accessed 19 January 2011)
  4. ^ David W. Dunlap, From Abyssinian to Zion: a Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship, (New York City: Columbia University Press, 2004), p.50.
  5. ^ Remigius Lafort, S.T.D., Censor, The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X. Volume 3: The Province of Baltimore and the Province of New York, Section 1: Comprising the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, Buffalo and Ogdensburg Together with some Supplementary Articles on Religious Communities of Women.. (New York City: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914), p.323.
  6. ^ "Reach out to a Higher Power," Time Out New York, April 1, 2009, p. 13
  7. ^ White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. p. 474. ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5.
  8. ^ William Henry Shannon, Thomas Merton, Thomas Merton's Paradise Journey: Writings on Contemplation, (London and New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000), p.278

External links[edit]