Musical Resurrection of St. Veronica’s Church

ST. VERONICA’S CHURCH CLOSES: Built for Irish dockworkers and their large families 115 years ago, St. Veronica’s joins the over 40 Catholic churches recently closed by the Archdiocese. WestView invites the community to make it a performance venue for sacred and classical music. Photo by Maggie Berkvist.

By George Capsis

On June 25th, the New York Catholic Archdiocese changed the locks and closed the 115-year-old St. Veronica’s Church on Christopher Street (just opposite the Archive Building) to the very few who still tried to attend the continually diminishing religious services. Another church has been lost to the ever- waning call of traditional religion.

But wait! WestView Publisher George Capsis remembered the emergence of what is now one of the world’s most renowned classical music groups, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He emailed its founder, Michael Feldman, to ask his interest in considering St. Veronica’s light-flooded hall as perhaps the venue for a new orchestra dedicated to the great sacred and secular music.

“I gotta see it,” replied Feldman. Parishioner Terri Cook, who has an article in this issue (see page 4), opened the door of St. Veronica’s with her key and Feldman came back with, “Oh wow, terrific, 1000 seats.” We then asked WestView photographer Maggie Berkvist to jump in before the Archdiocese changed the locks to get a picture of the interior—she just made it. (See her photo above.)

The closing of this issue fell on July 4th weekend and even the staff of the Archdiocese goes to the shore, so we could not talk to anybody to get an okay, or a “Hmm, sounds like a good idea but we have to see who would do it, and whether they can fund it because there is no money coming from the Archdiocese.”

At this moment, we do not have the nod and benevolent smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan with a, “Sure, it’s a great idea, go ahead,” so I am asking you as a WestView reader to let the Cardinal know how you feel about this idea.

I mean, imagine if we could walk down Christopher Street and enter the towering Gothic replica structure to view and hear a baroque orchestra and choir perform some of the great music of the centuries reverberating off the stone and marble walls; that is what they were originally designed to do.

Please, if you want this, send me an email or letter and I will pass them on to Cardinal Dolan. (We have lost so much of the old Village, here is a chance to start a new legend—THE MUSIC OF ST. VERONICA’S.)

Send your emails to and mail your letters to WestView, 69 Charles Street, New York, NY 10014 (we will of course print the best letters).

Also, we are looking for patrons and the West Village is getting its share of one-percenters so you may wish to send your tax deductible checks made out to the West Village Fund. But if you don’t have a computer, send them by mail or drop them off at 69 Charles Street to save the stamp.

(Last month, we received our first $1,000 check. I have to write him a thank you note.)

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