Thursday, December 17, 2009

You can't always judge a parish by the church's looks

Blessed Sacrament in Alexandria, VA is one of the ugliest churches I've ever seen. It has cinder block walls, glass brick, miles of dirty beige carpet and you have to walk all over the building in order to find the surly ladies in the office. It looks like a 1970s minimum security prison BUT it has a serenely beautiful Sacred Heart chapel, an adoration chapel that always has a least one or two people praying no matter what time I drop by and it has sterling priests, Fr. Cregan says a straight Mass by the rubrics and adds no nonsense, plus he's a good confessor. And they have night masses and confession all during Advent.

St. John the Beloved in MacLean is odd looking. It's a round church so you can see your fellow parishoners and they can see you-- don't scratch or pick your nose. The floor slopes like a movie theater. It's pretty painful on Rocky's arthritic knee because the floor is always pressing him foreward and I even experienced a bout of nausea/vertigo while walking to my pew BUT it's a loved church. Someone tried very hard to bring beauty to that odd design and it worked. The Blessed Sacrament, not the priest is right in the middle and visible to all. The tabernacle is gorgeous. Fr. Aragorn is the pastor there now and he's a dynamic speaker and confessor. He will not tell you what you want to hear but only what you need to hear. His counsel may sting a bit but so does alcohol when you put it on a wound. Until you get that sting, the wound won't begin to heal. AND they have the Tridentine Mass.


Brantigny said...

St Bede in Williamsburg (my diocese of Richmond) used to be beautiful before they "improved". I don't like going there because the altar looks like the Kabba in Mecca. It has no cross on it. the only thing missing is the minnaret. We prefer Our Lady of Angels in Woodbridge, when we travel to the district.


Dymphna said...

I honestly can't figure St. Bede's out. Why did they spend so much money to make a church look like a Mormon visitor center? We preferred going to the old St. Bede's chapel at William and Mary. Mass with the college kids was rather sweet. Have you ever gone to Mass at Ft.Monroe?

Susan said...

Brantigny: About a month ago the parochial vicar beat up the pastor at Our Lady of Angels. The Pastor was hospitalized and will probably never recover from the damage inflicted on him. What a great church that must be!