April 19 - Paris

We had an early start from Lisieux this morning riding through the mists and sun of a marine climate to Paris.  After we arrived in Parish Fr Maurice presided at Mass in a Chapel at Our Lady of Victories Church where St. Louis Martin had prayed while in Paris and his daughter, St Therese of Lisieux, had visited on her way to Rome hoping beyond hope that the Pope would grant her petition for early entrance to the Carmelites.

It was a mixture of modern and ancient.  The use of modern materials and ancient stood in stark contrast.  The sanctuary used metal to back the altar with a cross of light.  It echoes the Easter Vigil's proclamation:Christ is our Light.  The walls are covered with marble markers thanking Therese for her intercessions for healing. The highly polished wood floors are rounded from the countless shuffling of feet markeing the ages even more than the plaques. What drew all those people to a little chapel in a small church near the palace of kings?

We spent the rest of the day in this same mixture; riding a modern bus in modern traffic admiring ancient buildings. We had a brief stop at the Louvre, not to see the museum, but to see the ancient walls, castles built before our country was founded.  Then we proceeded on to Notre Dame Cathedral.

A long line of travelers snaked across the plaze in front of this great Cathedral.  I had little sense of their awareness of the holiness of the place.  They acted as if this was just another building crafted of old.  I heard a tour guide interpreting the scene of the Last Judgement sculpted over the front doors to people who seemed to be hearing the story for the first time.  As if it was a moral lesson no more significant than Aesop’s Fables.  I sensed a be difference from the little church marked with the prayers of the faithful and time.

Father asked us during Mass to consider our hope, our intention for the Pilgrimage.  Would this trip be a tour of ancient buildings or a journey of faith?  I began this pilgrimage asking for something for myself – a deeper understanding of the faith of my ancestors.  Today I added an intention for my parents.

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Pilgrimage to France and Spain

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