St. Agnes Church (New York City)

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Church of Saint Agnes
Agnes RCC 141 E43 sunny jeh.jpg
General information
Architectural styleGothic Revival (for 1877 church)[1]
Baroque Revival (for 1998 rebuild)[2]
LocationNew York City, United States
Construction started1873[2]
Completed1877 (for church)
1904 (for the sacristy and rectory)[3]
1998 (for rebuild)[2]
DemolishedDecember 10, 1992 (fire)[2]
Cost$31,000 (for the sacristy and rectory)[3]
ClientRoman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Technical details
Structural systemMasonry
Design and construction
ArchitectLawrence J. O'Connor (for 1877 church)[1][2]
Jeremiah O'Rourke & Sons (for 1904 sacristy and rectory)[3]
Acheson, Thornton, Doyle (for 1998 rebuild)[2]
Church of St. Agnes, Manhattan

The Church of St. Agnes is a parish church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located at 143 East 43rd Street, Manhattan, New York City.[4] The parish was established in 1873.[5]


The parish was intended to serve Italian laborers of Grand Central Terminal and Depot.[1][2] Rev. Harry Cummings Macdowell, nephew of Father Jeremiah Cummings of St. Stephen's, was the first pastor, assisted by Rev. A. Catoggio. The parish was organized on July 13, 1873. Macdowell had rented a hall over Croton Market on 42nd Street as a temporary chapel and passed out handbills to announce the fact to the local Catholic residents.[6]

A Sunday school was begun on 43rd Street. The parish school, located at 152 East 44th Street, was organized in 1893.

The church hosted Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's radio and television broadcasts on behalf of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith for over half a century. The broadcasts, including the famous "Death of Stalin," were some of the most important influences in reshaping mainstream twentieth-century American attitudes on Catholicism.[1] Other notable clergy have included Bishop John J. O'Hara,[7] Monsignor John P. Chidwick, Monsignor Eugene V. Clark, and Father George W. Rutler.[8] As an important venue for media, and with its proximity to the center of New York City, the church often played host to rallies, such as the starting point for John Cardinal O'Connor's anti-abortion march from this church.[1]


The church was built 1873–1877 to the designs of Lawrence J. O'Connor.[1][2] Builders were Moran and Armstrong and Michael J. Newman. The basement was completed and used as a chapel which was dedicated by John Cardinal McCloskey on January 11, 1874. A Celtic cross crowned the gable. The sanctuary contained a chancel window depicting St. Agnes. The completed church was dedicated by Cardinal McCloskey on May 6, 1877.[6]

The parish constructed a four-story brick and stone rectory and sacristy in 1904 to designs by Jeremiah O'Rourke & Sons of 756 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey for $31,000.[3]

The church burned in 1992.[9]

It was replaced in 1998 by a building designed by Acheson, Thornton, Doyle, patterned after the Church of the Gesù in Rome and retaining two surviving towers from O'Connor's original church.[1][2]

The altar triptych in the rebuilt church was painted by Sean Delonas.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g New York Organ Website (Accessed March 26, 2011)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Official Church Website (Accessed March 26, 2011)
  3. ^ a b c d Office for Metropolitan History, "Manhattan NB Database 1900–1986" (Accessed December 25, 2010).
  4. ^ The World Almanac 1892 and Book of Facts (New York: Press Publishing, 1892), p.390.
  5. ^ Remigius Lafort, S.T.D., Censor, The Catholic Church in the United States of America, Vol. 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. (New York City: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914), p.307–308.
  6. ^ a b "The Church of St. Agnes", The Catholic Churches of New York City, (John Gilmary Shea,ed.), Lawrence G. Goulding & Co., New York, 1878, p.106.
  7. ^ Chicoine, Christie L. (August 6, 2014). "Bishop O'Hara: His Broadcaster's Voice is Paired With a Pastor's Heart". Catholic New York.
  8. ^ Ruse, Austin (Summer 1998). "Risen From the Ashes". Sursum Corda.
  9. ^ Robert D. McFadden (December 11, 1992). "Fire Guts St. Agnes, a Historic Manhattan Church". New York Times.
  10. ^ Beth Landman & Deborah Mitchell (February 16, 1998). Delonas's Saints of Circumstance New York Magazine

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′6.57″N 73°58′28.08″W / 40.7518250°N 73.9744667°W / 40.7518250; -73.9744667