Wow! We visited Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles today. It was downright amazing. From the incredible architecture to the art to the gardens and grounds it is a place that feels welcoming and wonderful. Only thing that might have made it better would have been a handshake with the Bishop.
My favorite thing of all is the tapestry collection hanging on the walls of the nave. If you're an artsy type, or even if you're just a Christian with one wit of care for your predecessors, they're worth seeing: http://www.olacathedral.org/ - look under art and then tapestries. I was very moved by the images of all those men, women, and children.
My second favorite thing - and anyone who has ever gone graveyard exploring with me will understand - was the mausoleum beneath the cathedral. Wow. I felt heavily poetic as I walked my newly pregnant self down the hallowed halls of that beautiful resting place. I was interested to read the names of all the Bishops and other folks I don't know, and then surprised to see "Gregory Peck" written on one of the crypts. Well, we are in Los Angeles - and the Atticus actor was a Catholic.
Our children loved the gardens. They had tons of fun climbing on all the animal sculptures and Joe was thrilled beyond measure to find "Jonah was here" written inside the belly of the fish. All five of us (six, really) came away with a sense of respect and joy. Thank you, Lord, for this great church. Thank you for the amazing reminders of your work and who you are.