Saturday, December 8, 2012

dispensation notwithstanding

I attended a conference in New Orleans this weekend.  About a month ago, when I knew that I would be there for today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I mentioned it to my priest.  I was riding with someone else, and I couldn't tell from Google Maps if there was a church within walking distance of our hotel.  Besides, I didn't know how the Mass schedule would mesh with the schedule for the conference.  He listened to me and then granted me a dispensation of the obligation, if it was not possible for me to attend.  So I really had no intention of going to Mass.

Yesterday evening, looking out of the window near the 14th floor elevator, I saw the stained glass windows of a church next to the hotel.  I wasn't sure it was operational or Catholic, though, and I wasn't really thinking along the lines of going to Mass.

This morning was a lazy one, but at 7 a.m., still sitting in bed, I heard church bells.  Perhaps I should investigate further, I thought.  So I opened the Maps App on my iPad and found out that the name of the church was....get this....Immaculate Conception.  Think someone is trying to get my attention?  So...I did a quick Google Search and found the website for the church, looked at the bulletin, and observed that there was an 8 a.m. Mass on Saturday.

So, even with a "Free Pass", the Good Lord was calling my name.  Drawing me to Him.  I told my co-worker roommate that I was going to 8 a.m. Mass.  The morning conference session started at 8:30, so I'd be a little late.

I inquired at the front desk, where exactly the church was...I'd seen it, but wasn't sure which direction to go from the front door.  "Go down to the corner and take a right."  I did, and as I walked, I could hear the bells,  but still was unsure exactly where the church was.  Then I looked up, and right there in front of me was an older African American lady holding the door open.  I smiled at her and entered.  I wasn't 50 steps from the front door of our hotel!


Absolutely gorgeous!!  I was SO distracted!

The abundant stained glass windows were beautiful!

This is the view of the rear of the church - the choir loft, perhaps.

The looks like a shell arching out over it.

A side altar.

A sample of the beautiful artwork and mosaics.

The pews.

Baptismal font.

A couple of the many statues.

All in all, I was glad that I didn't ignore that quiet but persistent voice.  What a treat to worship in such a beautiful space!

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