San Juan Capistrano Mission – San Juan Capistrano, California

Thanks to my cousin who showed me the Mission.

In my stays in San Clemente, I was blessed to be shown around the other beach towns from family.  One spot that I always try to go to to this day is San Juan Capistrano.

Over the years it has changed, but one thing that hasn’t is the Mission and its properties.  It’s great because you can pay a small fee and tour the old mission and see how St. Junipero Serra founded this mission. Not only did he find the San Juan Capistrano mission, but also eight other missions throughout California.

The property is gorgeous and once you are within the walls that surround the mission, it feels like you are taken back in time. It is filled with beautiful gardens and sounds of nature.

Outside of the Mission, are eateries and shopping. Strolling about, gives me that sense of Rome.

This is a statue of Junipero Serra in front of the basilica.

Altar

This is a niche with Saint Juan Diego.

Outside, back of basilica, are the ruins of the original mission.

To think this is where the main altar was. You can see it probably included small statues within its wall.

Mass is still celebrated in this chapel. I’m guessing it holds about 50??

The look and feel of this mission is just peaceful.  When walking through the gardens, you get the coastal air. I could sit there for hours.  There is also a gift shop that carries many beautiful handmade religious items.

San Juan Cap is definitely where I like to go each time I get to Orange County.

Here is more information on the Mission and Basilica.

http://www.missionparish.org/

 

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque – Tucson, Arizona

My first parish.

I was baptized here, made my first holy communion, confirmed, and was also married.

It was also my grandmother’s and mother’s parish since it was located in their neighborhood.

I remember it feeling very grand walking in. I remember the sights and smells also. Burning candles or incense. Dark reds, blues, golds. Fresh flowers.

As you walked in you faced the altar that had a tall cross hanging from the ceiling upon red velvet centered behind. On either side there were niches with saints and kneelers to which you could go to and pray.

On the top balcony at entrance, this is where the organ pipes would ring out vibrating sounds. Sometimes the sounds would scare me because it always pounded out loud pitches.

I remember clearly the day of my confession. It was not inside the confessional, which I was sort of hoping for. Instead, the priest and I sat face to face in a pew near front. I guess for kids, they felt this to be the better approach than an a dark small room.

I also remember many weddings and baptisms at this parish. My family in Tucson is large, so every year it felt like there was some event to attend there.

This parish also has special significance because it so happens my husband also received all of his sacraments here as well.

Now that I’m moved away and my mom no longer lives in Tucson, I do not attend it much. There are still weddings or special masses given to which from time to time I’m there, but not as a regular Sunday participant.

With new priests and changes over the years, the altar is no longer the same. It saddens me because the original invoked many spiritual thoughts and the new appearance does not provide that for me.

In any case, I try to remember the times as a child I had there and still find it a special place that I hold close to my heart.

This was taken before all the changes were made to the altar. I want to say most here was original to what it was like when first built. Now the altar does not have any of this appearance but instead a wall with a painted cross.

On each side leading to altar are stained glass windows to this day I believe are the original. Also there are two altars aside the main altar. One with St. Therese of Lisieux and I believe St. Joseph.

I’m not sure who provided these art depictions in front of the parish, possibly the city, but this one is right in front. I love the touch it brings the community and the history of this neighborhood church.

St Peter’s Basilica – Rome, Italy

I have been blessed to see St. Peter’s twice. I wish I had taken better pictures or knew how to work my camera, but I think you can still receive what I captured. I like to take pictures of areas of the church that are not typically photographed. Well, at least what I’ve come across.

They said on the tour, the lettering that is in the gold trim is about 7 feet in height.

We were told the altar weighs 9 tons. All in bronze.

Altar of the Holy Spirit made out of alabaster

Inside St. Peter’s there are “mini” altars where Mass is given on each side leading to the main altar.

Pieta. Protected by thick glass due to someone who tried to destroy it. This was the closest I could get to it.

Outside the basilica walls…

My reaction to St. Peter’s was I can’t get enough. There is so much to take in and I know even though I have seen it twice, I know I missed so much. Really, St. Peter’s is what you would expect to represent our faith. Grandeur, peace (even among thousands squirming around you), profundity, and such thoughts that make you think of all the years the Church has had. How many people/pilgrims have visited this holy place??? I hope to see it again!

Please check the ‘Church Beauty’ tab for other parishes visited.

Notre Dame – Paris, France

Whenever I get the opportunity to visit another city or town, I always try to visit one of their parishes.  Whether my husband and I attend Mass or just stopping in, my point is to always take pictures of the beauty it holds.

I remember being told that in early Christianity, many of the parishes were designed in a way that the bible was displayed in the architecture due to not having written material to distribute to the congregation. Therefore, the mosaics, stained glass, sculptures, etc. carried the stories of the bible.

Not only do I appreciate the architecture but the way each parish celebrates the Holy Mass. From traditional to contemporary. Yet no matter the approach, our Mass is the same spoken word in any area of the world. That I love!

To start, here are pics of Notre Dame in Paris. My husband and I were blessed and very fortunate to celebrate Easter Mass in 2011 at Notre Dame.  Despite the fact that I about passed out inside the packed church, due to no air circulation, I did not want to miss out receiving the Eucharist. The Mass was spoken in French, of course, but if you carry a Magnificat there is never any problem.  Sitting in Notre Dame, made me think of those parishioners from long ago and how they received Mass in this ancient church.

I’m glad we hadn’t entered the church yet because there was a procession that I was able to take pictures of from outside and then followed them in.  What an awesome touch!  I wondered how many times this had been done on Easter here at Notre Dame.

My only regret is that my husband and I didn’t go back to further examine this historic place.  After this Easter Mass, we carried on with the rest of our tour.

How blessed we are in the Catholic Church to have these sacred places.+++

   

 

 

 

Two for Tuesday

Two songs right now in the Christian music hemisphere that get to me.  Honestly speaking, I don’t listen to popular Christian music much.  I tend to listen to traditional hymns when I want to “go there”. But these two songs really move me.  Take a listen!

Audrey Assad – This song and video relates to me so much!!

Audrey Assad – New Every Morning

Travis Greene – This song helps me to be reminded.

Travis Greene – Intentional

 

Catholic Talk Shows

It’s been about five years since I first started listening to Catholic talk shows.

My husband and I got a subscription to Sirius XM radio in our cars and I signed us up for home internet too.  At first the reason was being able to listen to a variety of music with no interruptions.  I love music so I felt I hit the jackpot.

However, soon, I came across the Catholic Channel. I thought whoa it’s a station that’s Catholic?! I had listened to KLOVE in the past so I was thinking it might be playing music by Catholic artists only, but soon I realized it had nothing to do with that.   I tuned in one day and heard Lino Rulli.  The tone right away struck me because it wasn’t what I expected.  He had a bright strong voice, not the quiet monotone voice we are used to hearing with Catholic speakers. Well, at least in my experience.  He also had a co-host who was laughing and sharing jokes that I kept checking to see if I had it on the right channel.  As I continued to give it another shot each day, I found myself addicted to the format.  First and foremost, funny, relatable, thought provoking, and entertaining.

Each day, they would cover a topic such as confession, marriage, hot topics in the Church, and educate by way of quizzes and contests.  I would find myself laughing out loud and couldn’t wait to hear more the next day.

I then began listening to the channel all day. Even now, I turn it on and leave it at a high volume so I can hear throughout the house.  The other programs such as Busted Halo, Gus Lloyd became my favorites too. They not only cover serious topics but allow the listeners to relax to not so serious information.

My favorite time to listen is when they are live at the Vatican for reasons such as Easter, changing of the Pope which in this last case was Pope Francis.

Truthfully, it puts EWTN to shame. I wish the two would partner up somehow or follow the Catholic Channel format. It would give life to EWTN.

There are podcasts of the show so seek them out if you don’t have Sirius radio.

If you first listen and set a judgment right away, trash the thought, and give them a listen again.  I promise, they will change your opinion.

 

Ocean heals

Since I was about 9 years old, I spent my summer vacations in a simple town known as San Clemente.  It has grown much since I was 9.  Now it’s a vacation destination, many tourists, and pricy living. I was fortunate to have family who lived there so staying for months was no expense problem for my mom and dad. My aunt and uncle lived minutes away from the beach. I was blessed to experience the ocean air and mild summers. The thing is I didn’t know I was blessed. 

I always thought when I got to college age, that I would reside in Orange County and attend USC.  That all ended when a 6.2 earthquake happened and my foundation shook. Scared me to the core. But even after the earthquake, I would still go visit my family each summer. I just decided I could not live there anymore.

I always felt so comfortable being there. That had a lot to do with my aunt and cousin who treated me like I was a part of their family.   During my junior high years this became even more important to me.  My mom and dad divorced and all that I thought was secure was broken. My time there healed me. Going to the beach with my cousin, driving around to quaint little shops, eating ice cream at the parlors. My aunt would also make these wonderful dinners that during one summer, let’s just say I grew.  Their home and this beach town were refuge for me. When things were rough in my life, the San Clemente beach and my family helped me.

Fast forward, my bout with CDiff also received recompense from the beach.  In 2008, thanks to my dear husband, I spent many months with my San Clemente family trying to find peace. I went there either with my mom or on my own.  I had terrible anxiety and fear. I remember waking up at times and feeling the urge to take a drink of alcohol at 9 am. That had never happened to me before. I would also have panic attacks and need to take deep breaths to know I was OK.  It was horrible.

So there would be many moments where I would just drive by myself and just sit there at the beach or walk on the pier trying to recover. Crying and pleading and asking the Lord to free me. 

Then this is when I would begin to envision myself alone in the ocean completely immersed and feeling as though the water was Jesus’ mercy.  Letting go of all that I was holding onto and just floating in His care.   The image would give me comfort and allow me to breathe again.

That is why I believe today I have such a deep love for the ocean. I don’t just view it as water or a place to vacation to but I correlate it to God and how vast and wide His love is for us and how powerful He is over any pain.

Hand over your worry, fear, anxiety to Jesus and in replace ask Him to give you His peace, patience, and trust. Fall into His mercy and relax yourself in His protection. +++