Hahaha! Ok let me explain!! But first … breakfast!! And because we’re going to try and see 345 parishes in the next few days, we decided to start our church touring with a great breakfast at my favorite Jewish Deli – – Eleven City Diner!! OMG, I know I’ve told you before, but their french toast (should be called “Jewish Toast”) is made with their homemade Challah bread and it is quite heavenly … right up our “churchy” stuff for today!
I also love their menu just because of the names of some of their items … makes me feel like my family is right there with me … maybe even cooking for me (Coco?? Bubbie??)!!
Yes girls, you made the menu so I’ll expect a great meal when we get home! 😉
Anyway, we got our fill of protein (yes, we did even though it doesn’t look like it!) so that we’d be ready for the day! Next, we hop on the subway and off we go!Our first stop is to let Peggy see the cathedral. Holy Name Cathedral is where Chicago comes to pray. Every single time I’ve been in this cathedral, whether just for a visit or for a mass or other service, it has been packed. It is it’s own parish and you can tell the people that call this place home just love it. I love the ceilings and the ambo and the archways and the stations … it’s all beautiful and holds so much meaning. Take a look … The Doors of Mercy. The massive bronze doors weigh 1200 pounds each. The doors have the “Tree of Life” theme with intricate details that make the doors look like huge planks of wood. And as a side note, I just love the Gothic style archway that they’re in. The ambo with the 4 Gospel writers engraved on it, along with the Holy Spirit. This is the sculpture that is over the Tabernacle … it’s a bronze and absolutely stunning. The ceiling and the fantastic pipe organ. First, their entire ceiling looks like this. I often wonder who cleans this ceiling?? It always looks shiny like it was just polished all the way up to the top!! How does this happen? The organ? Well, when they play it during their services, it is spectacular … Sorry, Dan! I don’t think our HNM organ is on quite the same scale, so when you’re here, take some time to just sit and listen. One afternoon a while back, I came in while the organist was rehearsing and I literally just sat there while he performed a concert just for me!
Lastly, because I know so many of our HNM’rs have a love for St. Faustina, here is a picture of her enshrined with her relic … Ok Peg, we gotta go!Because we’re up in the north end and close to “Mag Mile” I decide to show Peggy the famous street before we continue our journey. My favorite stop is always the Tribune Tower because of the other types of “relics” that it holds in its walls.This “rock” is from the “Dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral” in Rome. This might be as close as Peggy and I get to touching the ceiling in St. Peter’s!!
Next we decide to hop on the water taxi. This is a really fun way to “get around” the city. If you’re just going from one end of the city to another, hop on this taxi for a little change! I never would have thought that people use a water taxi for commuting, but they do! Eddie goes between two of his offices here in the city so sometimes he’ll hop on the water taxi to go from one office to the other. How cool is that for a commute?? Look at these views!Roosevelt Road is right behind our apartment … if you look at the round looking building on the bottom right, our apartment building is right behind that one. And yep, that’s the Sear’s Tower looking down on us! This is the “Chinatown Station” for the water taxi stop. Anybody want some dim sum?
Alright enough fooling around … back on the taxi! We loved just riding around on that thing from “station to station” but we found our way to the French Market where they have the best cheese around! First of all, I love the name of this little stall … “The Pastoral Artisan Cheese Shop. Who wouldn’t buy “pastoral cheese“? Well after a few samples and much discussions, we picked out a few cheeses … not because we tasted them and we couldn’t live without them. Nooooo … we chose them purely for their names!! Haha! Check them out!! Who doesn’t love St. Malachi???? And his cheese was perfection!! In honor of our God-daughter, Marissi!! And it was just what it promised to be … “restrained yet wonderfully complex” (just like our gal!) … and just plain delicious!! I can’t remember why we chose this one but maybe because we both loved the Waltons??? No matter … buttery blast is right …. oh my!!And last but not least, for Jimmy & Corinnie!! HAHAH!!! And, of course, it tasted fabulous, along with the chardonnay and sherry!
The next morning we had a tour scheduled so we were up and attem’ bright and early! We met Joe inside the beautiful Old St. Patrick’s for an official tour!! He explained all the finery to us from each stained glass window, to the crossbeams holding up the ceiling, to the filigree patterns all around the “Big Guy” (that would be St. Patrick!!). Here’s a sampling of what you’ll see when you get here!!
Joe was a great tour guide, a chock full of knowledge and a very happy parishioner. He is devoted to his parish and loves giving tours, even to a couple of crazy church ladies from So. Cal. That was a real delight to have our own private tour of this magnificent church!
Next stop … wherever we see steeples and bell towers, of course!!
We made our way via walking (11 minutes), then bus (23 minutes), then more walking (3 minutes) then another bus (13 minutes) … the best way to see Chicago!! After getting off the bus, we know we’re heading to St. Stanislaus, but wait … look over there!! It’s a steeple! Ok, let’s go there first!! Walk (5 more minutes) to … Holy Trinity Church! And their Doors of Mercy! We weren’t able to get inside but we stood in the Doors of Mercy and then moved on to our original destination … St. Stanislaus! I’ve seen this one many times from the freeway on our way to the airport. It stands large and proud for everyone to see and is one of the many polish language parishes in the city. In fact, I learned that Chicago has the greatest population of Polish people, outside of Poland! Yep, that’s a fact! They mean business here!
We were pretty impressed that they have Adoration 24 a day?? WOW!! So yes, we went in and spent a little time with Jesus before gawking at the physical beauty of their church. Holy Cow, right??? Notice the floor. There is no carpet anywhere and the pews literally just sit on the floor. I don’t think I’ve seen a church without carpet in a long, long time! This is where they were having Adoration. Doesn’t this just look like the “Ark of the Covenant”? It was so beautiful and you were immediately brought into the reverence of the scene. Peggy went to light a candle for you all … Can you see that they are REAL candles she’s lighting. Thank you Peg!
After all that oooohhing and ahhhhing Peggy needed to go to confession … This girl has lots to say ….Are you done yet??? We need to go … there are some “angels” waiting for us!
Our next stop came after a 6 minute bus ride (we coulda walked!!) and 9 minute walk to …
Yes, we made it to St. Mary of the Angels parish and let me tell you, this is an absolutely fabulous church. Angels are everywhere!! You can’t tell by the pictures, but there are angels perched on every corner of the rooftop … looking down at us, praying for us, protecting us. I loved it!!!
And then you go inside … Isn’t that a beautiful statement, a wonderful reminder for us!!Holy Water Font!! OMG!
More prayers for you guys! Thanks Peg!
When you’re inside these churches and see the art work that is on the walls, you can’t help but think of it as a museum. And it is in some ways, a museum of our faith — stories told on walls and through the architecture and through every single detail that your eyes can see. It is really incredible to think that someone, a very long time ago, thought of us in their vision for these churches. They didn’t build the churches for them (so to speak), but for those who were coming after them, to tell the stories that they knew they wouldn’t be able to physically tell us, but by sharing them on the walls and rooftops, and in the nooks and on the ceilings. Thank God for those who came before us and shared their faith stories with us. Where would we be without them??
It was a wonderful, spiritual, uplifting experience just to be in the presence of all the angels and saints and the physical beauty of this church. I can only think … do all those who gather here each Sunday know the beauty that they’re sitting in, appreciate it, and love it like those of us just visiting? I sure hope so!!
Ok, well we should call it a day … Peg … Peggy?? Where are you??? Yep, I found her … in the confessional … again!! Haha!!
Talk to you tomorrow!