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Perpetual adoration chapel will be a 'spiritual gamechanger' for New York City, priest says

An artist's rendering of the planned adoration chapel in Greenwich Village. Courtesy photo. An artist's rendering of the planned adoration chapel in Greenwich Village. Courtesy photo.

A perpetual adoration chapel slated to open next spring will bring spiritual healing and revitalization to Manhattan, according to a Dominican priest overseeing the project. 

"This is really a project of the Holy Spirit. There's so many times when it's seemed like we're running into snags and they just work themselves out," Fr. Boniface Endorf, a Dominican friar and pastor of St. Joseph's parish in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, told CNA. 

"It's clear the Holy Spirit is a driving force, and I think this will be a spiritual gamechanger for Greenwich Village and the city of New York, to have a place where you can encounter Jesus Christ." 

Manhattan, one of the most densely populated and influential areas of the entire U.S., currently lacks a perpetual adoration chapel. Last year, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York asked Fr. Endorf if his parish would be willing to take on the challenge of opening one. 

The new chapel will be constructed in a basement space that the parish is currently using for storage. At present the project is in its last stage of fundraising, with construction set to begin in early fall. The goal is to have the chapel open by Easter 2022. 

Fr. Endorf's catchphrase for the project is "The city that never sleeps deserves a chapel that never closes." 

The location is ideal, Fr. Endorf said, because the area is well-served by public transit. He said St. Joseph parishioners and students from the nearby universities are very excited about the project. 

The neighborhood needs the graces that will come from the chapel, Fr. Endorf said. Greenwich Village is a quieter, more residential neighborhood of Manhattan, but also is known for being artistic and bohemian, and also as a haven for LGBT culture. 

Fr. Endorf said he fully expects the adoration chapel to be a source of grace for vocations among those to visit; to help ordinary Catholics to grow in holiness; to aid in the strengthening of marriages in the neighborhood; and to provide spiritual healing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit New York City early, and especially hard. 

In terms of aesthetics, the parish church itself is neoclassical, and the design of the chapel is somewhat romanesque. The theme for the chapel is Divine Mercy, and it will feature a mosaic of the Divine Mercy image above the monstrance.

The main design element is a large wooden rood screen, a feature born partly out of necessity— the screen protects the monstrance from theft— but which will also serve as a large, visible surface on which to place additional artistry and symbolism. 

The chapel will also have choir stalls to allow the faithful to join in with the Dominicans as they pray the liturgy of the hours throughout the day. To keep worshippers safe, the chapel will be secured through a PIN-based or biometric security system, according to the project website. 

Fr. Endorf said that when the chapel opens they plan to pursue locals who can sign up for an adoration slot. But he also hopes that people from across New York, as well as tourists, will take advantage of the chapel as well.

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