Oh yeah baby … and we are off early this morning! We started off at the Bongo Room for breakfast, another favorite of mine. Not because of their homemade Belgian waffles or their chocolate stuffed French toast … noooooo … because of their great service and friendly smiles! Yeah, that’s it! Ok, now we’re off to our first stop of the day …
St. Mary of the Lake parish! OMG, this was another beautiful, active, giving parish. We walked around the church and gardens because the front doors of the church were locked up tight. Hmmmm … they don’t allow the faithful in during the day? Weird!
We found our way to the rectory and knocked on the doors — Hey guys! We want in! It was answered by a sweet lady who took us into the house and introduced us to Deacon Manuel. He then immediately stopped what he was doing, gathered us in and said, “Come follow me!” I swear he did!! So we did!! And we were so happy we did …
He took us around the whole church and pointed out the beautiful architecture, the art work, the details and symbols of almost every piece of furniture and art in the church. He, like Joe at St. Pat’s, was a wealth of knowledge. He was so proud of his beautiful church but he asked us to pray for more parishioners for them. He said that he and his wife had been parishioners there for 50 years, and that his family has celebrated every sacrament in that church over the past 50 years. You know that this is their “second home” much like HNM is to many of us, and that they truly love it. Deacon Manuel spent about an hour with us, showing us around, telling us stories, and even giving us one of their parish directories, because he said, it held so much history inside of it.
One of my favorite stories was this one … he said that during the early 90’s they did a major renovation to the church, restoring the artwork, cleaning every nook and cranny, and rearranging some of the seating. He then took us over to the baptismal font that they use in the front of the church near the altar. “Isn’t it beautiful” he says, and “does it look familiar to you”?? Well if you look closely, you can see that it’s actual pews! They used the wood from some of their “leftover” pews to make the holder for the font! He loved it and so did we! How creative and again, they used their resources to tell their stories … to everyone who is baptized in that font and to everyone who looks at it and see “the pews” that were lovingly re-made into a piece of furniture that will be used over and over and over.
We had a really special time with Deacon Manuel and promised to pray for him and his church. Don’t you just love it when that happens? God Moment!!!
Peg, are you ready? We got some souls to see!! Off for a short walk to Graceland Cemetery, Chicago’s largest cemetery and the resting place for many of Chicago’s famous … and infamous! I should tell you that today was a 90 degree/90 percent humidity day … we hadn’t had one of these days all summer. But today, our 7 mile walking day, it is! So, you can imagine we’re pretty “steamed”!! We took some time out at the cemetery talking to some of the staff in their cool, air conditioned office about some of the tours that run through the cemetery and the architecture of some of the headstones. So, it turned out to be a great place for a “time out” … who else but Peggy and me would stop into a cemetery office for some conversation, water, and a history lesson!! Yep, this is Marshall Field’s resting place. I didn’t take a picture of his “plot” but he has pretty much a space the size of a small park for him and his family. Ok, onwards we go! Our next stop is St. Alphonsus! And this was a beauty! Doors of Mercy … and in we go!
We didn’t have a tour guide for this masterpiece, however, that didn’t stop us! Apparently this church is on some “must see” church list because we weren’t the only ones in there snapping away!Oooooohhhhhhh … Awwwww … Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!
And on and on …. isn’t it beautiful? What I’m loving about these “old fashioned” churches is the details … Look at the walls on this picture. And then look at the stained glass, and the filigree, and the angel and the pillar. Sometimes there’s just so much that you actually can’t take it all in … it’s overwhelming, but in a good way! Feeling protected and watched over? Yep, we sure were! Oh, and don’t forget … Peg’s lighting candles for you all again!! Ok, time to go!! Peg … Peggy??? Where are you?? “Oh, I’ll just be a minute!” Ok, fine!!
On our way out, we saw this!! A “Lending Library” for the kiddos! Isn’t that sweet?? And as we walked out the front doors, we caught a glimpse of their cornerstone … It’s been a great morning so this afternoon we’re gonna take it easy and have some fun! Off to the lake we go! I wanted to show Peggy the “Museum Campus” so we walked through the park on the “lakeshore trail” to enjoy the lake that looks like an ocean. Apparently we got there just in time! Today was the day the “Tall Ships” come into the harbor! So we were able to see the “Parade of Tall Ships” pass right by us on their way to Navy Pier. It was the coolest thing ever!! There was about 14 Tall Ships parading that afternoon, including this one that is a “Viking Ship” … I know it’s hard for you to see so I think that the next time they come into Navy Pier, you should definitely come and see it for yourself! Bucket List = Tall Ships!!
After all that water stuff, we decided to do some good old fashioned “land” stuff … like bike riding! So off we went over to the Planetarium to grab a bike. This was Peggy’s first time .. in a long time … that she had been on a bike. So we decided that she should take a practice run before we head out on the trail … So she did … and there she goes!! Oh but wait … there’s more to this story … Yes more! Lots more … and I am not at liberty to discuss it. If you would like to know exactly what happened, you should ask Peggy the next time you see her. She has it all on video. All I can say is that there will be no bike rides on this trip! Let’s go find the water taxi!! 😉 Here we are on the water taxi and all I can say is “Thank God she still loves me.”
God actually answered my plea, as you can see by this picture … He said, “Have No Fear Lani. Peggy Will Always Love You. Even If You Did Almost Break Her Legs.” Ok, that’s a little dramatic … but really, I am thankful!
We ended our beautiful day at Navy Pier, taking in the sights, sounds, and millions of tourists, who were there to see the “Tall Ships” in all their glory. It was a great day filled with the beauty of our faith and of our outdoors.
Let’s go home and rest our legs!!
Talk to you tomorrow!