Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (New York City)

The Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola is a Catholic parish church located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City, administered by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The parish is under the authority of the Archdiocese of New York, and was established in 1851 as St. Lawrence O'Toole's Church. In 1898, permission to change the patron saint of the parish from St. Lawrence O'Toole to St. Ignatius of Loyola was granted by Rome.[2] The address is 980 Park Avenue, New York City, New York 10028. The church on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and 84th Street is part of a Jesuit complex on the block that includes Wallace Hall, the parish hall beneath the church, the rectory at the midblock location on Park Avenue, the grade school of St. Ignatius's School on the north midblock location of 84th Street behind the church and the high school of Loyola School (also 980 Park Avenue) at the northwest corner of Park Avenue and 83rd Street. In addition, another Jesuit high school, Regis High School (55 E 84th Street), occupies the midblock location on the north side of 84th Street. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 1980.[1]

Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
Ignatius Loyola complex 2021 jeh.jpg
St. Ignatius Loyola complex, April 2021
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (New York City) is located in New York City
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (New York City)
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (New York City) is located in New York
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (New York City)
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (New York City) is located in the United States
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (New York City)
Location980 Park Avenue, New York City, New York
Coordinates40°46′44″N 73°57′31″W / 40.77889°N 73.95861°W / 40.77889; -73.95861Coordinates: 40°46′44″N 73°57′31″W / 40.77889°N 73.95861°W / 40.77889; -73.95861
Area3.5 acres (1.4 ha)
ArchitectSchickel & Ditmars[2]
Architectural styleGerman Baroque; Classical Revival
WebsiteOfficial website
NRHP reference No.80002679[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 24, 1980
Designated NYCLMarch 4, 1969


The parish was established in 1851.[2][4] Occupying "the site of the former St. Lawrence O'Toole Church, founded in 1851, and named for a twelfth-century bishop of Dublin by the parish's first pastor, the Rev. Eugene O'Reilly from Ireland.[5] The parish was entrusted to the care of the Society of Jesus in 1886 and marked the Jesuits' first major apostolate in the Yorkville area of New York.[5] Late-nineteenth-century directories listed the address of St. Lawrence at the corner of Park Avenue and East 84th Street.[6]

The present grand limestone edifice stands as testimony to both the growing affluence and confidence of the Catholic community on New York's Upper East Side near the start of the 20th century as well as the ambitious determination of Fr. Neil McKinnon, S.J., pastor of the parish from 1893 to 1907.[5] During his time, Martin J. Scott, later a noted author of novels and controversial literature, worked as assistant priest among the young (1902-1915) and built a day nursery in 1910.

The church was declared a New York City Landmark on March 4, 1969.[2] The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 1980.[1]

Notable funeralsEdit


Ignatius Loyola complex on Park Avenue


A wooden church was erected in 1852, which was replaced in 1853 by a modest brick structure.[5]

The church's present foundation was built 1884-1886 as the foundations to a planned Gothic design. The parish was transferred to Jesuit control in 1886.[2] The present church was built 1895 to 1900 to the designs of architect J. William Schickel of Schickel & Ditmars, and dedicated on December 11, 1898, by the Most Reverend Michael Corrigan, third Archbishop of New York.[2][9][10]


St. Ignatius Loyola, A Pictorial History and Walking Guide of New York City's Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (1999) includes an exemplary description of the exterior and interior of the church:

Two unbroken vertical orders, a Palladian arched window, and a tri-part horizontal division suggesting the central nave and side aisles beyond, lend a Classical balance to the Park Avenue exterior. Yet St. Ignatius' façade is not static; the central division raised in slight relief beyond the side divisions and the varying intervals between the symmetrically positioned pilasters (columns that are not free standing) create a subtly undulating dynamism that introduces a note of syncopated rhythm reminiscent of the exterior of Il Gesù, the Jesuits' mother church in Rome. The original plans for the street front of St. Ignatius, presently 90 feet high and 87 feel wide, included a pair of towers designed to reach 210 feet above the ground, but this feature of the project was abandoned early, leaving only the two copper-capped tower bases on either side of the central pediment as hints of the grander scheme. Located directly beneath this pediment are the motto of the Society of Jesus, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God) and the Great Seal of the Society, composed of a cross, three nails, and the letters I H S (the first three letters of Jesus' name in Greek which later became a Latin acronym denoting Jesus the Savior of Humankind); together they proclaim to all who pass by that St. Ignatius is a Jesuit Parish.[5]



The church is constructed of American, European, and African marbles, including pink Tennessee, red-veined Numidian, yellow Siena, pink Algerian marble, white Carrara marble, and veined Pavonazzo marble; most of the intricate marble work was executed by the firm of James G. Batterson Jr., and John Eisele of New York.[5]

The marble mosaic Stations of the Cross panels were designed by Professor Paoletti for Salviati & Company of Venice; some were publicly exhibited in Turin before installation.

The great twelve-panel bronze doors located at the sanctuary end of the side aisles… were designed by the Rev. Patrick O'Gorman, S.J., pastor from 1924 to 1929... [and were] crafted by the Long Island Bronze Company….

The Jesuit statues, including St. Francis Xavier and St. John Francis Regis were carved by the Joseph Sibbel Studio of New York in Carrara marble.

The church is notable for its organ, dedicated in 1993 and built by N.P. Mander of London, "this instrument is New York City's largest mechanical action (tracker) pipe organ, and the largest mechanical action pipe organ ever to have been built in the British Isles."[5]

Baptistery The semi-circular wrought-iron baptistery screen in the Chapel of John the Baptist of gilt flaming swords was wrought by Mr. John Williams to the designs of William Schickel. The baptistery font is of Carrara marble set above marble pavement designed "by Heaton, Butler & Bayne of London, with slight modifications made by Mr. John Buck of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Gorham Company of New York; the Gorham Company was also responsible for cutting and installing the mosaic's tesserae (the pieces comprising the mosaic)." The baptistery's altar and surround curved walls are of Pavonazzo marble inlaid with mosaics, "designed and executed under the direction of Mr. Caryl Coleman of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. These mosaics, composed of that company's justly famous opalescent Favrile glass, are as delicate as the Venetian glass mosaics above are bold." Tiffany also executed the baptistery's semi-dome.[5]

List of rectorsEdit

  • 1. Rev. Eugene O'Reilly, rector 1851-August 5, 1852[11]
  • 2. Rev. Thomas Ouellet, S.J., rector 1852- [11]
  • 3. Rev. Walter J. Quarter, rector –1866[12]
  • 4. Rev. Samuel Mulledy (1811–1866), rector 1863–1866[12]
  • 5. Rev. Victor Beaudevin, S.J., rector 1866–[12]
  • 10. Rev. John Treanor, S.J., rector (–1880)[13]
  • 11. Rev. Robert J. Fulton, S.J.(1826-1895), rector November 1, 1880- [11]
  • 12. Rev. David Merrick, S.J. (rector 1880–)[14]
  • 13. Rev. Neil McKinnon, S.J., rector July 31, 1893 – 1907 (parish rededicated on December 11, 1898, with new upper church dedicated to St. Ignatius Loyola and lower church dedicated to St. Lawrence O'Toole)[11]
  • 14. William O'Brien Pardow, S.J., rector 1907-1909[15]
  • 15. David Hearn, S.J., rector 1909-1915[15]
  • 16. Cowles Havens Richards, S.J., rector 1915-1919[16]
  • 17. James J. Kilrowy, S.J., rector 1919-1924[16]
  • 18. Patrick F. O'Gorman, S.J., rector 1924-1929[16]
  • 19. Edward J. Sweeney, S.J., rector 1930-1933[16]
  • 20. William J. Devlin, S.J., rector 1933-1935[16]
  • 21. W. Coleman Nevils, S.J., rector 1935-1940[16]
  • 22. Francis A. McQuade, S.J., rector 1940-1945[16]
  • 23. John Edwards Gratton, S.J., rector 1945-1949[16]
  • 24. C. Justin Hanley, S.J., rector 1949-1952[16]
  • 25. Robert I. Gannon, S.J., rector 1952-1958[16]
  • 26. John J. McGinty, S.J., rector 1958-1960[16]
  • 27. William T. Wood, S.J., rector 1960-1966[16]
  • 28. Charles T. Taylor, S.J., rector 1966-1970[16]
  • 29. Robert J. Haskins, S.J., rector 1970-1979[17]
  • 30. Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J., rector 1980-1986[18]
  • 31. Walter F. Modrys, S.J., rector 1986-2005[19]
  • 32. Gerald R. Blaszczak, S.J., rector 2005-2008[16]
  • 33. William J. Bergen, S.J., acting rector June–August 2008[16]
  • 34. George M. Witt, S.J., rector 2008-2015[16]
  • 35. Thomas H. Feely, S.J., parish administrator 2015–2016[16]
  • 36. Dennis J. Yesalonia, S.J., rector 2016–Present[20]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, "Church of St. Ignatius Loyola" LP-0431 Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine, March 4, 1969, Number 3
  3. ^ White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot; Leadon, Fran (2010). AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 453. ISBN 978-0-19538-386-7.
  4. ^ Remigius Lafort, S.T.D., Censor, The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X. Volume 3: The Province of Baltimore and the Province of New York, Section 1: Comprising the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, Buffalo and Ogdensburg Together with some Supplementary Articles on Religious Communities of Women.. (New York City: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914), p.335.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "St. Ignatius Loyola, A Pictorial History and Walking Guide of New York City’s Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. 1999, cited on church website.
  6. ^ The World Almanac 1892 and Book of Facts (New York: Press Publishing, 1892), p.390.
  7. ^ a b c d e Gibson, David. "From Jackie O to Mario Cuomo, this New York Jesuit parish is the final stop for famous Catholics". The Claretian Missionaries. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Mourners gather Tuesday for funeral for former Gov. Mario Cuomo". Article. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  9. ^ Christopher Gray, "STREETSCAPES: Seven Apartment Houses in a Piazza-like Setting." New York Times. March 9, 2008.
  10. ^ David W. Dunlap, From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.) p. 208.
  11. ^ a b c d Robert F. Meade and Joann M. Kusk, The Centennial History of Loyola School: 1900-2000 (New York City: [self-published], 2000), p.7-8
  12. ^ a b c Dooley, Patrick Joseph (1917). Fifty Years in Yorkville; Or, Annals of the Parish of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Lawrence O'Toole. New York: Parish House. p. 45. OCLC 680497244. Retrieved June 26, 2019 – via Internet Archive.
  13. ^ Dooley, Patrick Joseph (1917). Fifty Years in Yorkville or Annals of the Parish of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Lawrence O'Toole. New York: Parish House. p. 124.
  14. ^ Dooley, Patrick Joseph (1917). Fifty Years in Yorkville or Annals of the Parish of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Lawrence O'Toole. New York: Parish House. p. 129.
  15. ^ a b Patrick Joseph Dooley, S.J., Fifty Years in Yorkville; Or, Annals of the Parish of St. Ignatius Loyola (New York: [Frank Meany Co., Printers, Inc.] 1917), p.353
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Robert F. Meade and Joann M. Kump. The Centennial History of Loyola School:1900-2000 (New York: [self-published], 2000), p.vii
  17. ^[dead link]
  18. ^ "Welcome to JASPA!". Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  19. ^[bare URL PDF]
  20. ^ "Parish Staff | Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, NYC". Retrieved 2017-04-22.

Further reading

External linksEdit