Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday In New Orleans

When my travels include a Sunday - it is fun to find a local church (preferably liturgical/High Church) with a sense of history to worship in on Sunday morning. My favourite is to find a church I can walk to from wherever I am staying. Even better if the congregation has a social conscience/outreach into the surrounding community. I know it is popular these days to be have trendy and contemporary services that cater to popular culture. Half the time the references are to TV shows and movies I have never seen and they fly right over my head. For me there is something very powerful about an old church with a sense of history, an order of service with roots in the past and a building that resonates with the imprint of generations of saints that came before. It has a powerful energy I really connect with.

I stayed Saturday night in the French Quarter - so it was just a short stroll down the street to St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. St. Louis is the oldest continuously operational cathedral in the United States. The acoustics are beautiful - the words of the reader and the songs of the cantor were hauntingly beautiful as they echoed off the high ceiling.

The homily was about helping out our neigbours and reaching out to the poor and needy. There were several powerful illustrations about how neighbour reached out to neighbour in the aftermath of Katrina. Friday there had been a storm warning and some fears that the area was going to be hit again. As the priest spoke words of comfort, encouragement and of God's provision in adversity he also talked about the importance of being prepared. Everyone chuckled when he said, 'I know this time to pack more than the suggested two days worth of clothes when we are told to evacuate'.

After the service I met a Mexican exchange student who was in town for the semester for Post Doctoral work. She came up to ask if I was a student and inquired about some of the differences between how the mass is celebrated in Mexico and the United States. It seemed too complicated to explain I do not participate, since I am not catholic -- so I relied on my knowledge gained from listening to the Busted Halo Podcast to help answer her questions. We had a good visit and I even put aside my normal shyness and tried to speak a little with her in Spanish. I haven't spoken in over a month and I am getting rusty again.

St. Louis Cathedral Across Jackson Square

Inside The Cathedral

Churches I have attended on recent travels

Christmas 2007
New York City, NY USA
St. Patrick's Cathedral

Canadian Thanksgiving 2007
Vancouver, BC CANADA
Christ's Cathedral

Christmas 2006
Denver, CO USA
St. Johns Cathedral

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