The Church of Saint Agnes in the heart of midtown Manhattan, just half a block from Grand Central Terminal and across 43rd Street from the Chrysler Building, ministers to the needs of local residents, businesspeople, and commuters alike. The Church offers numerous Masses and three hours of confession daily. Saint Agnes is also home to a number of service and devotional organizations, a renowned music program, and a bookstore stocked with religious books and merchandise.
We were established in 1873 to serve the laborers at the nearby Grand Central Depot. The first church, designed by Lawrence J. O’Connor, was built from 1873–1877. In 1992, the 1873 building was destroyed by devastating fire, leaving only the walls and towers standing. The present church, opened in 1998, was designed by Acheson, Thornton, Doyle, and was conceived as a smaller version of the Church of Il Gesù in Rome. The two surviving towers were reclad to harmonize with the new Italianate design. The adjoining rectory was built in 1904 by Jeremiah O’Rourke & Sons, architects of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.
On October 7th, 1980, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, Saint Agnes Church received…“the singular honor”…which will forever become part of recorded history…East 43rd Street was proclaimed…“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Place.”Then Mayor Edward L. Koch in his proclamation address said: “East 43rd had been selected, because it is the busiest pedestrian street in the world!…Thus befitting the most famous churchman of our century…And it was at Saint Agnes Church that his sermons were carried throughout the world.”