Friday, June 25, 2010

Where should we go today? Parish Pilgrimage June 2010

Well, Tuesday actually.

Our new pastor (we got him in January) likes to make small local pilgrimages as a way to get to know his "flock". We were fortunate to be able to participate in his first for our Parish ... a drive to Maryland and the site of the very first Carmel in the new world at Port Tobacco, Maryland.
Boy, was it hot! 
Poor LegoManiac was wearing slacks so he could serve Mass.
Our Lady of Consolation -- painted by one of the Carmelites -- in the "new" (built in the 1937) chapel.  You can see the gate that separates the cloistered sisters from the public.  For a short time (when the sisters were forced to move to Baltimore -- from 1830 to 1852), the sisters were asked to leave the cloister and help teach in the new United States.  In 1852, they were allowed to go back into the cloister and do what Carmelites do ... pray and meditate for all of us.
The original house (built when the original four sisters -- three were native Marylanders -- came in 1750).  This Carmel convent spawned all the other Carmels throughout the United States, sending cloistered nuns throughout the country in the past 260 years of their existence!

After saying the rosary in the chapel and taking the group picture, above, we headed to Chapel Point and the Jesuit church, St. Ignatius.
"The oldest continuously active parish in the United States, founded 1641 by Father Andrew White, SJ"
And boy do they now how to pick a spot!  This is from the side of the church, looking out onto the cemetery with Port Tobacco River and the Potomac (and the Virginia side) in the distance.  The cemetery is filled with gravestones dating from after the Civil War ... seems the Union soldiers camped here never had to fight a battle so spent their time taking potshots at the gravestones in this cemetery -- there are NO stones left from the pre-Civil War era.
In side the church, this is the main altar, where our pastor celebrated Mass.  At the end of Mass, we were able to venerate a relic of the true Cross brought from England when Fr. Andrew White came to establish this Jesuit mission -- VERY COOL!

After Mass, we had a picnic lunch in the cool, air-conditioned Church Hall.  After eating Father and another priest from our parish, serendaded us with guitar/harmonica music and gospel songs ...
A wonderful day and a new-found place to explore (it's only about 1-1/2 hour from here) when visitors come calling ... 

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