Church of St. Francis Xavier
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Patrick Keely, 1883; Renovation, EverGreene Architectural Arts and Thomas A. Fenniman, 2010

The Church of St. Francis Xavier was designed by Irish immigrant Patrick Keely and the cornerstone was laid on Sunday, May 5, 1878. Construction lasted four years at a cost of approximately $600,000. When it opened on December 3, 1882, the New York Times wrote "the eye wanders in amazement..." Nearly 50 murals were painted by William Lamprecht (born Wilhelm Lamprecht in Munich), the leading painter of ecclesiastical works in America at the time. Described as "Roman Basilica" in style, the architecture is "classical Roman" containing liberal Ancient Grecian and Renaissance modifications. The massive wood organ casework, confessional, shrines of the saints and pews are all elaborately hand-carved oak. There are no figural elements in the over 70 pieces of stained glass (unique to a Catholic church of this era).

Typical late 19th century American decorative style of geometric shapes and quilting patterns and the abundance of flora found in the US were used by Patrick Keely to pay homage to his new American home. Depending on the angle of the sun, note the various stained glass colors and patterns branding the church walls and floor. The pipe organ is the Opus 700 of the Peragallo Organ Company of Paterson, New Jersey. There are 52 ranks of pipes with a total of 3,323 speaking pipes. The restored hand-carved casework from the original 1882 Hook & Hastings Organ is approximately four stories high. There are 49 trumpet pipes mounted to the base of the casework.

Saturday Tour Info: Tours highlighting architectural features and elements of the building’s recent restoration will take place at 9:30 and 11am. (1 hr)
Sunday Tour Info:  Tours will take place at 1, 2:30, and 3:30pm. (1 hr)

Access Notes: Handicap access is at the door on 55 West 15th St.

 

Image credit: Kah-Wai Lin CC BY-NC-ND 2.0