The building that is now home to The Sheen Center originally served as a mission church for Italian immigrants. Founded by two Jesuit priests, The Italian Mission of Our Lady of Loreto quickly grew to include some 3,000 parishioners and a school for 500 children.
By 1926, the parish was staffed by diocesan clergy and Religious and a brand new school and cultural center were built which included an auditorium with a professional stage on which some half-dozen full-scale operas were presented annually.
In 1938, following the ravages of the Great Depression, the parish was forced to foreclose on the cultural center. Catholic Charities bought this property on 18 Bleecker Street and created the Holy Name Centre - a residence and employment center for homeless men. The theater remained a part of the property and in the 1950s and 1960s, was host to a number of Golden Glove tournaments. Daily Mass took place in a small chapel inside the building.
By the mid-1980s, the church building of Our Lady of Loreto fell into disrepair and the congregation had significantly diminished. The property where the church stood (just south of 18 Bleecker Street), was sold, and the parish was moved into the chapel of the Holy Name Centre.
In 2011, the Holy Name Centre and Our Lady of Loreto parish were closed. Nearby Catholic parishes welcomed the few remaining parishioners, and services for the homeless continued at other Catholic Charities locations throughout New York City.
Following extensive planning and renovations, The Sheen Center was opened in 2015 as the official Arts Center of the Archdiocese of New York.
Today, we are proud to be the venue in New York City where art and spirituality meet.