Shhh! Today we are in Holy Cross Church on 42nd Street in Manhattan. It has been newly restored and I must say is a jewel of a place. The church was founded in 1852 to accommodate the influx of Irish Catholics in the neighborhood and expanded as the area population grew, eventually to include a school and convent on nearby streets.
The building in place now is the second incarnation which replaced the lightning damaged and unstable original structure in 1868. According the the church’s web site, it is the oldest building on 42nd Street from river to river.
Holy Cross is perhaps most commonly known as the pulpit of Reverend Francis P. Duffy, the highly decorated Chaplain of the 69th Regiment’s “Fighting Irish” in World War I.However, the reason I visited Holy Cross was a more personal one: almost 92 years ago, on June 1, 1919 my grandparents John Tierney and Mary Egan were married here.
As a native New Yorker, I can’t imagine how many times I walked near this church or any number of other locations in the city without the slightest idea that something of familial significance occurred there.