History of the Catholic Center


The first Catholic Center at NYU, a former French boarding school that had been acquired by the Archdiocese of New York, was dedicated on February 6, 1952, with His Eminence Francis Cardinal Spellman, the Rev. Timothy Flynn (then NYU’s “counselor to Catholic students”), NYU Chancellor Henry Townley Heald, and former acting chancellor James L. Madden all in attendance. The philosopher Jacques Maritain giving the dedicatory address. He felt the honor “as a philosopher who has long loved the people and culture of this country,” and remarked that “the foundation of this Center has a great and happy significance. For it is dedicated to the life of intelligence, busy with all the problems and discoveries of modern times, and to an effort to penetrate and quicken this very life of intelligence, and the workings of the human mind, with the light of Christian verities grasped in their integrity.” (Read the entire address here.)

From 1961-1964, thanks to a gift of the Generoso Pope family, the Archdiocese was able to construct a new, more modern, Catholic Center. The Center, especially its Holy Trinity Chapel, was an integral part of the Catholic experience for undergraduate, graduate and law school students at NYU. The Dominican friars were invited to be the chaplains in the late 1980s. In 2009, the Archdiocese reached an agreement with NYU to surrender part of the site in exchange for the construction of an entirely new and up-to-date Catholic Center, which would belong to the Archdiocese in perpetuity.




The Present-Day Catholic Center

In 2012, the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, dedicated this new Center, which occupies the ground floor of the Global and Academic Center for Spiritual Life. The new Center contains a beautiful chapel with the Blessed Sacrament and under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman, a room for Confessions, two large auditoriums, offices, a kitchen, and a student common room with a fireplace. Take a 3D tour!






Though the chief purpose of the Catholic Center is to help students mature in their faith and become intelligent, committed, adult Catholics, all students are welcome here. The Center provides a comfortable, well-ordered environment for students to pray, study, cook, socialize, and rest in the midst of a busy day.




 Cardinal Dolan described the Edward Cardinal Egan Catholic Center at NYU as “an icon of the new evangelization.”  The Center exists to witness to and communicate the enduring truth of the Catholic faith here in New York City. This mission is accomplished first of all by through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession. In addition to the sacramental life, the Center provides opportunities for students to grow in knowledge of the faith. The chaplain also guides the activities of the various Catholic student groups on campus. The Catholic Center welcomes any and all who wish to know more about God and the Catholic Church. Out of many Catholic students at NYU, a few hundred witness to their faith by going to Mass every weekend and roughly 150 students are involved outside of services through discipleship with missionaries or are members of student organizations. Despite their busy schedules and the hectic pace of New York life, students find time to serve and pray at the Center.  This is a testament to the Center’s function as a spiritual and actual home away from home where students gather in community to strengthen their faith.

The focus of our mission:

• To build a worshipping community. Masses are held in the chapel throughout the week and are well attended.
• To build an informed Christian community through lectures, seminars, and scripture study groups.
• To build a caring community through the social activities aimed at developing mature human relationships.
• To build a socially responsible community through service in the wider community. Since the opening of the new space in 2012, our students have demonstrated their deep commitment to the Center in a variety of ways.

What we do:

• Our welcome dinners during freshman orientation are a huge success with more than 50 – 60 people in attendance each year.
• We see a few hundred students at our 6 pm Sunday student Mass.
• Our four FOCUS missionaries lead several Bible studies and have many students in discipleship.  The students in discipleship will soon lead their own bible studies.
• Student-led organizations—Newman Catholic Fellowship, Korean Catholics United, and GradLaw/Young Professionals—boast more than 100 active members.
• Regular lectures on faith, reason, and contemporary issues provide students and the wider community an opportunity to receive deeper intellectual and spiritual formation as Catholics.
• Regular lectures by the Catholic Artists Society seek to provide an intelligent and informed Catholic approach to the creative arts.

This short video reveals the impact that the Catholic Center has in the lives of the students.

The video below features the previous chaplain, Fr. Allan and a recent alumna, Luisa Majnoni (’15), on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock.”

St. Joseph’s Church

 Since the year 2002, the Catholic Center at NYU has been connected with the nearby parish of St. Joseph’s in Greenwich Village, located at 371 Sixth Ave. Built in 1833, it is the oldest Catholic Church in the city. The Dominican friars who serve both the parish of St. Joseph’s and the Catholic Center at NYU live in community at the rectory of St. Joseph’s. In addition to the daily Mass at the Catholic Center, students also attend the midday Mass at St. Joseph’s. On the weekends, to accommodate the larger number of students who attend Sunday Mass, students attend one of the Masses at St. Joseph’s. The principal university student Mass is at 6pm on Sunday evenings, with a contemporary choir.