For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pilgrimage To Chicago 5: St. Mary Of The Lake

I lived in this Chicago neighborhood (Buena Park) from August '90 to February '95, only a block and a half from this church.  At the time I considered myself an agnostic and had little or no interest in attending Mass anywhere, let alone the church on my street.  I admired the architecture from the outside and found it a pleasant sight when I walked by toward my apartment, but never felt motivated enough or curious enough to enter through its doors to see if the inside did the outside its due.  So after more than 16 years I returned on Saturday to venture through its doors... and nearly wept, both at the beauty of what I saw and the fact that I missed out on it years ago...

The mural on the other side (not pictured) was used as a backdrop in a scene in the movie Flatliners, where a young Kevin Bacon's character picks on a little girl on the playground.  I saw the actor, among several movie set people scouting this location one day.  He looked different with his hair all matted down, but not unrecognizable.

The lights were off when I was allowed to tour after hours.  There is a link to a gallery of the church with lights on if you're interested. 

Paul Ryan Sets Record Straight On Medicare: VIDEO

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pilgrimage To Chicago 4: Queen Of All Saints Basilica

Queen of All Saints Basilica, located near the Peterson exit off the Edens Expressway in the far northwest side of Chicago, has eight different shrines devoted to The Virgin Mary as well as seven display cabinets containing dozens of Holy Relics (bone fragments of The Apostles, bits of different saints, small piece of Jesus' clothing, etc...).  The style of this basilica is "modern gothic," and taken in altogether is breathtaking.  Again, the photos don't do it justice.  It has to be experienced.

What's a Catholic church without Knights?

This room contains the baptismal font and lots of Holy Relics

Holy Relics of The Apostles

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pilgrimage To Chicago 3: St. Hyacinth Basilica

What could very well be the most beautiful basilica in the US, other than the National Shrine in DC (if you don't mind that blond Jesus behind the alter), St. Hyacinth Basilica leaves one (at least me, anyway) spellbound.  From the ornate engravings on its large bronze doors depicting the history of the basilica, to the bronze statues outside of Jesus Christ (with Sacred Heart) and John Paul II,  the magnificent alter and inner dome, the building inside and out shows its Roman and Polish influences.  Here are my photos that cannot possibly do it justice.

Looking up from the pews

Some objected to the "modern art" style of this statue, but I think it grows on you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pilgrimage To Chicago 2: Holy Name Cathedral

My friend Kevin and I visited Holy Name Cathedral the other day at 735 N State St. in Chicago, after visiting St. Peter's in the Loop for Reconciliation, and were very impressed with its beauty.  Above the alter, if you look closely you will find five Galeros (Cardinal hats) symbolizing the five deceased Cardinals who served Chicago to date.  "Traditionally, this symbol of a Cardinal is raised to the ceiling of his cathedral upon his death. The hat hangs until it turns into dust, a reminder that all earthly glory is passing" 

Surprisingly, even though this is the Cathedral of the Chicago Archdiocese and looks impressive (as you can see in the pictures) it is not the largest nor the most magnificant of Chicago's catholic churches.  In addition to the Cathedral, there are THREE basilicas, each of which I visited.  But only two of which I can share pictures.  Sadly, Our Lady of Sorrows' Reverend asked me not to post online any of the pictures I took.  It seems that some photographers with bad intent were taking pictures of the shrines within the basilica and selling them for profit.  Even though I assured him I would do no such thing, he assured me that someone might swipe them off my blog and sell them.  So,...I promised.  The following pics are from Holy Name Cathedral only:

Hanging Galeros

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pilgrimage To Chicago

I suppose you can tell I've not been posting much, but politics, as fun as it can be to rant about, has been wearing thin for me lately.  This will change, I'm sure.  But in the mean time...

I'm on vacation from my job on a pilgrimage to a city I once lived in as an agnostic from the late '80's up to the mid '90's, surrounded by beautiful Catholic churches which I typically ignored.  Now with a fervent interest in Catholicism, I've returned to Chicago to photograph three basilicas, one cathedral, and a few beautiful churches --one from which I lived less than two blocks.

The first one visited today was St. Peter's in the Loop, which offers several Mass times daily along with Confession M-F, 7:30 to 6pm ALL DAY LONG.  I try to go as often as possible to Confession since I almost always have something to say.  This church is run by the Franciscans, who seem constantly available.

Note the cloisters at the top center of the photo.