And I can't believe that only a week ago today, I was attending Mass at a beautiful old church called Notre Dame in the City of Nice, France. Already, it seems as if that trip I took to the Cote d'Azur, accompanying my husband on one of his working trips for his airline, happened about a month ago. It was such an idyllic adventure, such a special time for my husband and me (truly, like something out of a dream), that I feel just a bit sad when I realize that the memories of it, over time, will naturally grow fuzzier. So please excuse me for being a broken record, telling and retelling stories about our time there.
Today, when I get dressed up in my Sunday best for Mass, I won't be able to help thinking of the Mass my husband and I attended (all in French!), on the second Sunday of Advent, at Notre Dame--which you can see here in a photo taken from the balcony of our hotel room last Saturday night:Isn't it beautiful? My husband has often told me that one of the things he loves about flying internationally is that throughout Europe, there are so many amazing Catholic churches to be found. In Rome, he says, there is a church on practically every street corner. At one time, Europe was known as "Christendom" and most of that continent was a stronghold of the Catholic Faith. Evidence of this still exists in all the wonderfully ornate, breathtaking, historical churches, basilicas, and cathedrals still standing over there.
I was touched by the fact that the first thing you see once you emerge from the train station at the picturesque principality of Monaco is a lovely Catholic church:
This one is called the Chapel of St. Devote. It is dedicated to a 17th century martyr who is the patron saint of the family of Monaco's prince. It's small, but very beautiful.
The Mass is the Mass, no matter how plain or ornate the church in which it is held may be. The interior of our local parish church can't really hold a candle--as far as artistic beauty goes--to the interiors of the French churches I saw; but the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the same beautiful and necessary experience in our church each Sunday as it is in every Catholic church throughout the world. And I look forward to attending Mass today, on this third Sunday of Advent, right here in my hometown.