I can’t remember the last time I was in a NYC church (aside from this weekend!) So much happened that I just have to break this up into my reflections before the mass took place (after we all prayed the rosary together) and what I was able to scribble of the homily given by the Master of the Order, Fr. Bruno Cadore, O.P. If you can believe it, in my excitement, I forgot my journal. I purchased another one in Penn Station (because I really need an excuse to buy another journal). Moleskine in hand, we were off.
I was with my Lay Dominican brothers and sisters helping them to get on the NYC subway, purchase Metrocards and be a general funny gal the whole trip up to the church. Remember how anxious I was about being in NYC after not having been in 3 years? Well, I was so focused on making sure that my new friends were at ease that I hardly noticed my own anxiety – if there was any at all!
I skipped up the steps to the church and begged my President to take a picture for me. Really, how could you deny me? I was hopping and happy to be there with all of them. I walked in and blessed myself and immediately noticed the scaffolding at the far end, just behind the nave (I took art history once!), but then caught a glimpse of this to my right and followed my curiosity there and snapped some shots.
I purchased some mouse pads with St. Dominic on them with $10.00 of the $15.00 I brought with me (I bought one for dear Tiffany) and headed into the church. I wish Mike were there with me. I wish my children were with me. I wish all of you were with me. The beauty was incredible. Stained glass everywhere. There was even a special beauty in the crumbling of the stone in places that were being restored. I thought of all the masses these stones heard, all the prayers that were lifted up and went beyond them to our Father in Heaven. The people these stones have seen.
We kneeled to pray the rosary and I thought, shoot, I didn’t bring my rosary! Then I remembered that I always have my wrap rosary with me and prayed with it. How beautiful it was to pray the rosary with so many people in love with the church, in love with God and in love with one another in Christ. I could not believe it.
As we ended the rosary, I just sat and looked over to my left and saw nuns. Beautiful, joyful, happy, serene nuns in their habits. Have I mentioned that they are like celebrity to me? I kept looking over and as soon one would look back, I would look away. Silly, I know.
The organ began to play. The pipes! Silver and reaching out toward the sky. The sound filled my chest. The lower the notes the deeper the throb was in my chest. I thought, it this what God is through music. A truly sensory experience.
My Chapter President, J, has been very helpful and looked after me in a way that allowed me to feel free to make a mistake. He carried on with the responses and I would trip up, but he didn’t notice (or pretended not to!)
After the celebration of the mass, there was a reception where questions were asked of Fr. Bruno Cadore from the Lay Dominican brothers and sisters. I stood most of the time because I was too short to see over everyone else’s heads. Behind me, were all the nuns, young and old, smiling and listening. I wanted so badly to ask them if I could just take a picture with them – even though I didn’t know them and didn’t have the courage to speak to them. So, I took these as we left the church basement where the reception was being held!
We walked back to Penn Station and stopped by St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was there that I remembered the last time I was in a NYC church…it was St. Patrick’s Cathedral for RCIA a few years (more than a few years) ago. I didn’t finish. But look at me now, back with my God, my faith, my new Lay Dominican brothers and sisters and all of you.
Tonight, I will be attending my first Lay Dominican meeting (I did not attend last month because it was little Lexicon’s birthday!). I cannot wait to share that with all of you. They are all such beautiful people.
I have more pictures of course, and will share in time.