Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cardinal Egan: This is a house of God, too.

Last year I had the privilege of singing with the choir for the Chrism Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The loft is very high, like a skybox in a stadium. It is closer to the ceiling than to the floor and the pipes of the organ loom above. From this distance the face of the celebrant is a little smudge, like the tip of a pinky. There is a monitor on top of the organ so that we can have a closer view of the altar. The vastness and beauty of the cathedral are truly awe inspiring.

I spoke to one of the volunteer choristers who gestured outward toward the altar and said, "Now this is a house of God." Her tone implied a definitive and exemplary house of God.

I did not share my response with her, but I thought that it was no better a house for God than Our Lady of Vilnius or Saint Stanislaus Kostka. Some people are brought closer to God by grandeur, but others among us are brought closer to God by humility, by the flawed but brave touch of humanity.

I hope that Cardinal Egan recognizes that the people of the Archdiocese of New York are as diverse as the saints that the Church has canonized and that he will leave some of these small churches standing for the benefit of those who want to see the Mystery up close and personal.

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