No Picture
News Briefs

St. Patrick’s Cathedral hosts reparation Mass after ‘scandalous’ funeral for trans activist

February 17, 2024 Catholic News Agency 19
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. / Richard Trois via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Feb 17, 2024 / 13:56 pm (CNA).

The pastor of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City says the church has offered a Mass of Reparation after a controversial irreverent funeral service was held there this week for a well-known transgender advocate.

The Manhattan cathedral hosted the Feb. 15 funeral service for Cecilia Gentili, an activist who helped to decriminalize sex work in New York, lobbied for “gender identity” to be added as a protected class to the state’s human rights laws, and was a major fundraiser for transgender causes. Gentili was a man who identified as a woman.

Throughout the liturgy, the presider, Father Edward Dougherty, referred to Gentili with feminine pronouns and described the trans-identifying man as “our sister.” Additionally, during the prayers of the faithful, the reader prayed for so-called gender-affirming health care, while attendees frequently and approvingly referred to Gentili as the “mother of whores.”

On Saturday, Rev. Enrique Salvo, the pastor of St. Patrick’s, said in a statement on the website of the Archdiocese of New York that Church officials shared in the “outrage over the scandalous behavior at a funeral here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral earlier this week.”

“The Cathedral only knew that family and friends were requesting a funeral Mass for a Catholic, and had no idea our welcome and prayer would be degraded in such a sacrilegious and deceptive way,” Salvo said.

“That such a scandal occurred at ‘America’s Parish Church’ makes it worse; that it took place as Lent was beginning, the annual forty–day struggle with the forces of sin and darkness, is a potent reminder of how much we need the prayer, reparation, repentance, grace, and mercy to which this holy season invites us,” the priest wrote.

“At [Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s] directive, we have offered an appropriate Mass of Reparation,” Salvo said.

Several mainstream media outlets had framed the event as a breakthrough occasion and a sign of the Catholic Church shifting its teaching — or at least its tone — on sexuality and human anthropology.

Time magazine described the fact that a funeral service for a trans activist was held in a Catholic cathedral as “no small feat,” while The New York Times described the service as “an exuberant piece of political theater.”

Organizers reportedly did not disclose to the cathedral that Gentili, who died Feb. 6 at age 52, was a biological man who identified as a woman.

“I kept it under wraps,” Ceyeye Doroshow, the service’s organizer, told The New York Times.


The Dispatch

9/11 Revisited

September 11, 2023 James V. Schall, S.J. 23

Editor’s note: This essay by the late Fr. James V. Schall was published originally in slightly different form at Ignatius Insight on September 8, 2006, to mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 […]

No Picture
News Briefs

Arrest made in vandalism of Cardinal Dolan’s residence at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

November 10, 2022 Catholic News Agency 0
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York / John Bilous/Shutterstock

Boston, Mass., Nov 10, 2022 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

An arrest has been made in a two-day-long vandalism spree in October that included an attack on Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s residence at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Juan Velez was arrested by the New York Police Department’s Warrant Squad, police said Wednesday. In that announcement, police said Velez is being charged with 15 incidents of criminal mischief that occurred in Manhattan. 

Three of those incidents were attacks on churches, one of which was on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, police said. 

A video of the attack on St. Patrick’s Cathedral that circulated in the media shows a man approach the historic church and throw an object at its glass doors. He then can be seen fleeing the scene. 

On Nov. 2, police said they identified the attacker as Velez. In that announcement, police said that Velez threw a wrench at the cathedral and broke a window around noon in the October attack. 

According to, authorities said the wrench hit the residence of Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York. His residence is a part of the cathedral, the outlet reported. The outlet reported that Dolan was not home during the time of the attack, and no injuries occurred, according to police.

Police said that the next day, Oct. 29, Velez “caused damage” to All Saints Episcopal Church and the “Archdiocese of New York.” It’s unclear what building in the archdiocese was attacked. However, reported that the Archdiocese of New York on First Avenue had an unknown object thrown at it by Velez, which damaged a glass door.

The archdiocese has administrative offices on First Avenue, according to its website.

“We are grateful for the hard work of the NYPD for the serious way they responded to this disturbing incident,” Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, told CNA.

According to, authorities claim that Velez ripped a flag and damaged the front doors at the Episcopal church on East 60th Street.

Police said Nov. 3 that Velez was wanted for “criminal mischief hate crime pattern.” In that announcement, police said that Velez broke windows, doors, and flags at different churches.

Police arrested Juan Velez in connection with the Oct. 28, 2022, vandalism at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, and vandalism at other places of worship. Credit: NYPD Crime Stoppers
Police arrested Juan Velez in connection with the Oct. 28, 2022, vandalism at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and vandalism at other places of worship. Credit: NYPD Crime Stoppers