Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 26 September |
Saint of the Day: Sts Cosmas and Damian
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

Exclusive photos: New York City’s day of saving grace


Jeffrey Bruno

Jeffrey Bruno - published on 02/12/19

Witness two heroic acts of faith in the heart of the Big Apple.

It didn’t take place in a cathedral or some famous place. There weren’t any cardinals or bishops present. In fact, it began quietly in a church nestled within Midtown Manhattan’s Fashion District and then continued deep beneath the streets in the subway as much of the city slept.

It commenced before the sun rose, when a small but intrepid group of Catholics entered the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, located on West 37th Street, to begin a prayer so unprecedented and heroic that the very thought of it raises one’s eyebrows: 2,000 Hail Marys before the Blessed Sacrament, a more than 10-hour-long litany that could easily be compared to a spiritual triathlon.

According to someone who participated in this herculean prayer effort, there was an intention for each group of 100 Hail Marys, with prayers for those challenged with unplanned pregnancy, for those afflicted with terminal illness, and for pretty much everything in between.

Just before 10 a.m., a man rose from the pews and exited the church to meet another group, who would take to the 42nd Street subway station to pray all the Mysteries of the Rosary for those traveling the tubes. This group joyfully traversed the city streets to their destination amid the looks of the passing curious crowds, who gazed curiously at the statue of the Blessed Mother they gently transported.

Upon arrival they set up a table with some prayer cards, flowers and the statue, and then withdrew their rosaries from their pockets and set about the business of saving souls.

The subway group returned to the church as the noon Mass was about to begin, one of the few breaks they would take. Hail Mary number 1,000 would begin just after Mass.

This is the church at its finest hour(s), breathing with both lungs the breath of grace. It’s the people in the pews living out their baptismal call to holiness with passion and conviction in a city that is often judged only by its sinners.

Just as courage doesn’t mean anything unless there’s an occasion that requires bravery. virtue has little meaning unless there’s a challenge to virtue, and in New York, there’s no shortage of that.

In the trenches where the world assaults the Faith, this is the battle fought, these are the warriors; they are New York’s saving grace.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.