We always stop by the Cathedral when in New York City. St. Patrick’s is as much a tourist attraction as it is a place of worship. The last few times there, I couldn’t make out much of the inside structure itself as massive scaffolding and other industrial signs of reconstruction and remodeling abounded. For a while, it was a work in process.
Then, this past weekend… after a satisfying and undoubtedly expensive Manhattan dining experience, we wandered toward Times Square and decided to stop in. I was struck by four things. First, by how many people were there at that hour. It was deep into Saturday evening and the church was filled with people. Second, I couldn’t help but notice how many of the people were worshiping, praying, in solemn thought. The various side chapels and altars contained many who seemed deeply… elsewhere. Third, the construction is completed – probably has been for a while – and the church looks beautiful. Stunning actually.
Finally, the massive wooden front doors were decidedly ajar and a large, glass set of doors stood in their place. This allows a view of the church and altar from the outside, from 5th Avenue, from New York’s hustle and bustle. This struck me as a particularly worthwhile modification.
A large Catholic cathedral thrown open to the world. I couldn’t help but think of the welcoming. Of the transparency. Of the warm and gleaming light coming from within and spilling out into the world.
And then I thought… of course. Of course…