We're frequently, frequently, accused of being too NewYorky here at America magazine, what with all of our "Of Many Things" columns about New York and its environs, and occasional mention of events that happen at, or visitors who frequent, America House, our office-cum-residence. One letter stands out for me over the years. One reader wrote, "Why don't you just get it over with and change the name of your magazine to 'Manhattan.'?" So we are diligent in trying not to be too NewYorky.
On the other hand, sometimes it's hard to ignore what's going on around the corner. Case in point: the Church of St. Francis Xavier (oh, a Jesuit church--and we're also accused of being too "Jesuity") is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Formerly crepuscular and even, well, down at the heels, the landmark church, contiguous to Xavier High School in the Chelsea neighborhood of the city that will remain unnamed here has, over the past few months, emerged from its chrysalis and is restored not even to its former glory but a glory that, thanks to lighting, it probably never had. The parish itself is a vibrant, multiethnic, welcoming parish that has long been a magnet for Catholics from all over New York. Anyway, it's so exciting (and I'm not being paid to say this) that I wanted to share these photos with you of the apse, which had been a gloomy affair until last year. More photos of the fascinating process are here on their website and even nicer ones, which capture the warm creamy tones of the new church, are here on their Facebook page.
Drop by the next time you're in, um, that city where we work.
James Martin, SJ