Answers to Your Questions
1) Is Saint Jean Baptiste Church Roman Catholic?
Saint Jean Baptiste is one of approximately 370 parishes in the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The Baptiste in our name is not a denominational reference; it comes from the French Canadian founders of the church who, in 1882, christened the new congregation Église Saint Jean Baptiste (in English, Saint John the Baptist Church), to honor the great Jewish prophet and forerunner of Christ.
2) Who administers the parish?
Catholic parishes are served by clergy who are either Diocesan or members of religious orders. A Diocesan priest is ordained by a bishop to minister in a specific geographic area (Diocese) throughout his life. A religious priest belongs to an order whose members share a common ideal or inspiration (charism), profess vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and generally live and work together. In 1900, Archbishop Michael Corrigan entrusted the care of Saint Jean Baptiste Church to the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, an international Catholic order founded by Saint Peter Julian Eymard in Paris, France, in 1856. Blessed Sacrament priests and brothers dedicate themselves to making the mystery of Christ’s love in the Eucharist better known.
3) Do only priests and brothers serve the parish?
Actually, the priests and brothers work closely with a great variety of people. Among the first and most constant collaborators are the sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, who serve Saint Jean Baptiste High School. Two permanent deacons assist generously in ministering to the spiritual needs of the parish. And, in the decades since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), lay persons have been given more and more responsibility in the life and mission of the Catholic Church. Some work full- or part-time coordinating ministries like religious education, music, and social outreach; others serve on advisory councils overseeing parish life and finances, etc. Still other laity receive training to offer their gifts and talents as ushers, greeters, proclaimers of God’s word, catechists, and ministers of Holy Communion during worship and prayer. The presence of these committed coworkers is a blessing.
4) Does the parish get involved in the neighborhood and in social issues?
Yes, we want to be good neighbors to all around us, even those who do not share our Christian beliefs or profess any faith. We work on projects and initiatives that affect the lives of all who call the Upper East Side and New York City home. Some of this is done through the Catholic Advocacy Network of the New York State Catholic Conference, which inputs into legislative and policy matters in Albany. Locally, we take part in community-based organizations like the New York Common Pantry (formerly the Yorkville Common Pantry), the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, and the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House that respond to the realities of hunger, homelessness, and cultural adaptation and inclusion.
Our Community Center ― the former lower church ― is a place of hospitality and welcome for individuals, families, and groups. We love making people feel at home, from toddlers to seniors and everyone in-between!