Thursday, January 16, 2014

New York - An Irish Catholic Morning

I spent the first part of this week in New York, and I spoiled myself with some tourist pursuits on Sunday.  And since it was a Sunday, the best place to start was with mass.  And since I was in New York, the best place for mass was St. Patrick's Cathedral. 

The Cathedral itself is under a major state of repair.  It's covered both inside and out with scaffolding and sheets, and the restoration it's undergoing is massive.  Here's a look toward the altar:

I choose to attend the Bishop's mass at 10:15, and got there at 9:30 to try and get a good seat.  Unfortunately for me there was a special event going on that mass, and ushers prevented folks not associated with a celebrated group from sitting up front.  Said usher can be seen in the aisle in the picture above.

I actually was in the middle of a group coming in and made it past the usher with them.  It was too bad that the celebrated group was a Filipino one, and my January Green Bay tan wasn't fooling anyone.  The usher asked me if I was part of the group, and I could have said "yes," but lying to get a better seat in church kind of defeats the purpose, does it not?  I left the cover of my Filipino friends and headed to the back with the riff-raff.

The celebrant for mass was Timothy Cardinal Dolan, whom I written about previously here.  I love to listen to services from St. Patrick's on the Catholic Channel on my Sirius radio, and I just love the Cardinal and the abject joy he takes in his missionary work.  He oozes charisma, and seeing him in person even magnified that for me. 

The mass itself had a lot of pomp and circumstance - the incense, full choir, magnificent soloist, the mitre and crosier - all of it made for an incredible experience.  Cardinal Dolan's homily, in celebration of Christ's baptism, was about the core tenets of our Catholic faith - the mystery of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and our salvation.  As usual, it was an extremely relevant message, delivered in a virtuoso style.  

When mass ended, there was the usual processional:

But what was not usual was Cardinal Dolan lollygagging at the back, working the crowd as he was headed out:

As I was on an aisle seat, I was able to say, "God bless you, Your Eminence," which returned a warm, "Good morning!" nice wave and a grin.  And people just ate the guy up.  Me included. 

I bounded out of mass thrilled with the whole experience, but hungry.  Fortunately for me, there happened to be a nice Irish bar just around the corner, where I topped the whole morning off with an Irish breakfast and a Guinness to wash it all down:

Overall, I can't imagine being able to spend a better Sunday morning in New York City.  

Or many other places for that matter.

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