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St. Vincent de Paul Church

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Church with a 150 year legacy of interracial and inter-ethnic respect and understanding

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Chelsea
Institution, Place of Worship

Place Matters Profile



Nominations

Olga Statz

St. Vincent de Paul, a parish founded by French immigrants, was the first integrated church, the first church to establish a parish school to serve African-American children, and it enjoyed both these distinctions in the 1840s when slavery was in full swing in much of the rest of the country and those of African descent were not extended even rudimentary dignities anywhere. In this church, a "new" liturgy was born, blending African and European elements. It is the only church in New York that has an unbroken 150-year-old legacy of interracial and inter-ethnic respect and understanding. Annet Lafont was the founding priest of the parish. St. Vincent is also one of the most beautiful churches. It contains 10 large Tiffany stained glass windows, and exquisite examples of French enamel and wrought iron work throughout. The original facade is still extant behind a new one put on in 1939. The Archdiocese has this church on its list of parishes to close. We understand that the plan is to tear it down and put a condominium up in its place. (March 2008)


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