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Cathedrals

Last night, we went to Mass at the Cathedral downtown.  My husband told Sunshine we were going to a “tall, beautiful church.”  Like us, she’s already noticed all the huge, gorgeous churches around here—a reminder that Victoria is a slightly older city than those in Alberta.  When we’re driving around downtown, she’ll point out all the churches (or any building that looks like a church).

I could probably count the number of cathedrals I’ve been in on one hand, but St. Andrew’s is among the fanciest I’ve seen.  It’s huge inside.  Every window is stained glass.  There’s carvings, paintings, statues, a huge pipe organ, lovely Stations of the Cross, even Aboriginal artwork on the altar and candlestands.  After Mass, we wandered around the church, looking around.

The Cathedral reminded me again of the idea that the building itself praises God.  The Middle Ages may have been knicknamed the “Dark Ages,” but when it came to building churches, they were englightened.  My husband and I have been watching Pillars of the Earth lately and I love the parts about the building of the cathedral.

The Sydney YHA was right next to an Anglican cathedral.  Often, when I stayed there, I could hear the church bells ringing for service.  One Sunday morning, not wanting to look up a different church and try to figure out how to get there, I wandered into the cathedral for worship.

It was probably the first time I’d been in a church so fancy and I was awed.  The towering ceiling and tall windows created a sense that this was a place to sit and be reverent.  This contrast was even stronger to me because the last church I had been to—a world-famous church my mom told me about—met in what felt like a gymnasium, with folding chairs, floodlights, and big screens so we could see what was happening on stage.

I like old churches, whether wood or stone, small or large.  They have a sense of character, a sense of thought in their architecture, an idea that this place cannot hold God but must somehow make us turn our thoughts towards Him.

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