Tag Archives: CatholicParishes

Sacré-Cœur – Paris, France

My cousin is currently touring Paris and her experiences she’s been sharing, made me think of our time there.

Before going to Paris, I of course, checked off the places I wanted to visit.  My husband only had one desire and that was the Latin District because of their food.  We for sure went there…twice!

On the day we visited Galleries Lafayette, we headed out of this magnificent shopping center to find a place to eat.  We walked, walked, slow walked, fumbled, and began finding ourselves frustrated.  From leaving the Galleries, we thought for sure we would run into a nice bistro, but for some reason we kept making turns into more buildings that didn’t provide any food or drink.  We were lost!!!

So as my husband said “let’s just go down this way and if we don’t find anything, we’ll find a cab and go back to an area we know”.  Fine.  I agreed as I was dizzy and hungry.

So we walked and found some passers-by.  Shops started to appear here and there. Next thing we see, is a cafe.  Meats and cheeses. Breads. Olives. Jams. And of course, wine!!  We had no idea that we were now in Montmarte.

We felt like we died and gone to heaven. Right away, the waiter provides us a table facing outward to the street. Sets us up and gives us full attention. The bites were delicious!!! My husband and I couldn’t believe how delighted and joyful we were at what we stumbled upon.  And while we were almost done, I remember peeking out towards the right and looking up in between some high trees and noticed a steeple.  I couldn’t believe what my eyes were showing me.  So I focused again. Then I asked the waiter, “is that Sacre-Coeur?????”  He said, “Yes!”

I jumped out of my seat and told my husband, we got to go! It’s not that far and we are already so close. We can’t let go of this opportunity.  Good thing the food refueled us. We were now on our way to this historic church that I only read about and had marked down on my planner to see, but due to time and it appearing that it was not going to be in our radius to visit, I had scratched it off and figured, we wouldn’t see it.

We arrived in about 10 minutes.

It was everything I thought it would be.  We stood there at the bottom of the steps and admired it.  My husband was ready to move on and I said…”we have to go inside.”  He said, “the only way in is by these steps.”  I said, “let’s go!”  To reach top, it took 270 steps.  The views were amazing.   There were many visitors around just enjoying this spot.  You could see the city clearly on this late afternoon.

We get to the line where people are forming to go inside the church.  And as we get closer, there’s a big sign stating “NO CAMERAS, NO VIDEO, NO PICTURES PLEASE!”  I wish I could’ve taken pictures inside.  Even now, it’s hard for me to remember what I saw and wished I would’ve written it down.  But I do recall it’s design and thinking it didn’t look like most cathedrals from that time.  The altars made me wonder who had come to pray at them.  The main altar glistened in gold. The candles flickered  in every direction. The respect inside was evident.  You were in a sacred space.  My husband and I prayed and thanked God for bringing us here.

How is it that we ended up in this spot?  All the wrong ways we thought we were taking and yet they were not.  The recognition was fully there that Our Gracious God had led us to Sacre-Coeur.   To experience not only this basilica, but to embrace its name as well.  This basilica is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  What it is, what it stands for, speaks to our visit there more than just taking in its views.  But from what my husband and I experienced in our time of marriage, what I experienced in my 40 years of life (trip was a birthday and anniversary celebration) was hallmarked in this adventure.

How I ask in my prayers that our marriage be consecrated in His Most Sacred Heart.

Thank you Jesus for the glories, the graces, the adventures you have given us to not only experience for travel sake, but for the soul and our relationship to You in them all. +++

 

 

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – Washington, D.C.

My family and I were blessed to visit Washington, D.C. several times. Due to an event that honored my Dad’s rehabilitation story.  During these trips we were able to see a couple of their parishes.

This one is the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The exterior is grand. I think this is the first basilica I’ve been to in the States where it reminded me of cathedrals in Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had just completed a renovation.  This ceiling was redone in mosaic tiles.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a pieta located in their crypt of former bishops I believe.

This chapel is located on the same floor of the crypt.  I was able to attend Mass here with my family. Just beautiful.  I actually loved this design more than the main floor.

 

 

 

 

 

During our walks in D.C., my sister and I found this parish.  It was during an off time/week day but always happy when the front doors are open.

From the outside which seemed dark was nothing compared to the inside.  Was delighted to see the stained glass and organ pipes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time in D.C. is always fun. To find old parishes like this one along walks to dinner or ice cream are always my favorite finds.

 

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.

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.+++