Holy Cross Church (Manhattan)

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Holy Cross Church
Holy Cross Church 42nd St 1.jpg
Holy Cross Church
LocationNew York City
DenominationRoman Catholic
Founded1852 (1852)
Architect(s)Henry Engelbert
StyleItalianate Gothic
Length100 feet (30 m)
Width82 feet (25 m)
Height148 feet (45 m)
MaterialsRed brick
ParishHoly Cross Parish

Coordinates: 40°45′29″N 73°59′28″W / 40.75806°N 73.99111°W / 40.75806; -73.99111

Former Holy Cross School, now De La Salle Academy[1]

Holy Cross Church is a Roman Catholic church located at 329 West 42nd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, near Times Square and across the street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The Holy Cross Parish was established in 1852 and a chapel erected, which the congregation quickly outgrew.[2] In 1854, a new building was constructed and dedicated, but lightning struck this second structure in 1867, and the ensuing fire severely damaged it. The current church was constructed to a design by Henry Engelbert on the site of the damaged building and completed in 1870.[3][4] It is notable as the oldest building on 42nd Street.[5] The Holy Cross School, located behind the church at 332 West 43rd Street, was built in 1887 to a design by Lawrence J. O'Connor.[4]

Since 1900, Holy Cross Church has worked with politicians, police and community groups to combat poverty, crime and drugs in the neighborhood.[6] The parish is especially associated with the popular ministry of the Reverend Francis P. Duffy.

In 2015, the parish of Holy Cross Church merged with the parish of St. John the Baptist Church, on West 30th Street.[7]


The exterior of Holy Cross Church shows a red brick facade with flanking twin towers in an Italianate Gothic form.[3] Inside, the church reveals an eclectic mixture of Georgian classical, Romanesque and Byzantine forms.[3] The main dimensions are 100 feet from front to back and 82 feet from side to side, where the configuration completes the suggestion of a cross. A dome, surmounted by a cross, rises above the intersection of nave and transept. From curb level to the top of the cross is a distance of 148 feet.[5]

The nine stained-glass windows in the chancel were made by Mayer & Company of Munich.[8] Louis Comfort Tiffany designed the mosaics below the dome and in the sanctuary. Tiffany also designed the stained glass of the clerestory windows and wheel windows of the transepts.[3]

The red brick and terra-cotta school building facade was designed in the Romanesque Revival style.[4]


Mass is celebrated in both English- and Spanish-language services. Holy Cross Church operates Crossroads Food Pantry, a food kitchen serving the poor and hungry. It also conducts an evangelical program named LAMP Missionary for the assistance of local residents and passers-by who wish to receive religious counseling.


Choral music and congregational singing are present in both Spanish- and English-language services. Music is led from either a grand piano located near the altar or from an organ in the gallery. The church houses an Aeolian-Skinner organ, which is located in the rear gallery in the choir loft. Installed in 1933 and completed in 1941 with the addition of a set of chimes, it replaced an organ built in 1882 by J.H. & C.S. Odell. The earliest organ, with one manual and two octaves, which had been built by Hall and Labagh in 1854, was destroyed in the fire of 1867.[9]

Father Duffy[edit]

Holy Cross Church is sometimes known informally as "Father Duffy's Church", after the Reverend Francis P. Duffy. Duffy served as Chaplain of the "Fighting Irish" 69th New York Regiment during World War I, and was decorated for his activities. After the war, in 1921, Duffy was appointed Rector of Holy Cross. Later elevated to Pastor, Father Duffy served the church until his death in 1932. That year he instituted the Printers' Mass on Sunday mornings at 2:30 A.M. for workers at the New York Times, Herald Tribune, Daily News and Daily Mirror whose shifts required late hours. Father Duffy is commemorated by a bronze statue located on West 46th Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway, at Times Square's northern end, which is officially named Duffy Square.



  1. ^ De La Salle Academy, 332 West 43rd Street
  2. ^ 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. 330.
  3. ^ a b c d "Holy Cross". New York Architecture Images - Midtown. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  4. ^ a b c White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000), AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.), New York: Three Rivers Press, ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5, p. 254
  5. ^ a b "History" Archived 2010-07-04 at the Wayback Machine on the Holy Cross Church website
  6. ^ MacIntosh, Jeane (2008-12-09). "Mass Appeal". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  7. ^ "About Us". Parish of Holy Cross–St. John the Baptist. christinthecity.nyc. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  8. ^ "Stained Glass Windows" on the Holy Cross Church website. Accessed on 2009-11-11
  9. ^ "Church of the Holy Cross" on the American Guild of Organists, New York City Chapter website

Further reading

  • Duffy, Francis P. Father Duffy's Story, introduction by Joyce Kilmer. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1919.

External links[edit]