A Time Out
I begin my vacation posts, not with shots of Cinderella’s Castle as you probably expect, but rather, shots of a Church. And I begin, not with the first day of our arrival, but smack in the middle of our vacation, Sunday, since it was one of my favorite days.
You see, we have slipped a bit over the years in our Church attending habits. Always mindful of God in our home, and outside of it, always mindful of living a life that God would be proud of, but Church every Sunday? Sporadic. However, I find the more chaotic life has gotten, and the more challenging this parenting gig becomes, the more I am drawn to Church, finding solace in being surrounded by like minded people and listening to teachings that are a direct reminder of the importance of Faith. So our family has been recommitted to attending Church regularly in recent months.
That being said, we felt it was important to take our mid-vacation Sunday off to attend Mass and to have a quiet day away from the hustle and bustle of the parks. After Church, we enjoyed a quiet afternoon in the pool together as a family, ordered in dinner, and relaxed, recharging our proverbial batteries.
The Church we attended was the same one Zan and I discovered fifteen years ago in Orlando on Easter Sunday. I remember reading at the time that had Walt Disney built a Church, it would look like this one. Whoever said this was not mistaken in their assessment. This Church is a sight to behold, but more importantly the Very Reverend Edward J. McCarthy is a treasure within a treasure. He began Mass by making all feel welcome. This is not a Diocesan Church…it is a Church where travelers gather from far and wide and he ministers to the needs of travelers only within these walls.
He began the Mass with a little history of the Shrine, and by asking for a show of hands from International travelers. It was quite amazing to see families introduce themselves from Nigeria, Ireland, Canada, England, Cuba, etc., then to see Americans introduce themselves from all over the States. He ended with a powerful sermon on the true meaning of being humble, that I will not soon forget. It was quite a powerful experience to attend the service with people from all over the world who also find comfort in the ritual of the Mass and the gathering in common purpose. The music was truly inspiring, and filled the Church with a richness of sound unmatched by the smaller Churches I am accustomed to. A beautiful experience as a family, in a beautiful place.
I present to you Mary Queen of the Universe Shrine.
The view from the entrance to the sanctuary, looking toward the altar. The Church seats 2,000.
The view from the front of the altar…the marble is truly spectacular.
The view from behind the altar looking back toward the entrance. The statue of the Risen Christ over the doors is an impressive sight. I’m sorry I did not get a closer shot of it.
This prominent sculpture of Mary and the Baby Jesus: As per the website, “The Shrine’s defining representation of Mary, Queen of the Universe. A project long delayed as the sculptor, Jill Burkee combed the great quarries of Carrara, Italy for a block of rare, pure white marble, the completed 8-foot work stands on a marble base and encloses the names of some 3,300 Shrine Associates.”
Once a Mother, always a Mother…I loved this sculpture most of all.
And I couldn’t resist these shots of the candles before I left…
A magnificent gathering place, this. So glad we found it.
If you’re interested in reading more about this place, click here.