Monday, August 30, 2010

Going to the chapel

Yesterday I was realizing how unusual my life is. Perhaps it is a Buffalo thing. Our lives here in Buffalo are not usual!

I go to this wonderful Zumba class where I know the teacher and the other students. From thence I go to that idyllic garage sale which, to equal that, you would have to visit the world's great marketplaces.

Then I went to Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians. Usually I go to St. Anthony's in the morning but when my mom is thinking of going with me I go sometimes to Our Lady Help. That is the original name. In German it was Maria Hilf. Mary Help.

Sometimes, I will tell you this, I feel like saying that. Mary, help!

Our Lady Help is such an idyllic little chapel, I was sitting there thinking, very few people are lucky enough to be able to go to Mass, just on a whim, in a church like this. It was built in the 1850s. The picture above is of the altar after Mass. The Mass has just ended and the six candles are still burning.

Here is another shot.

And another.

Our Lady Help was built by a German immigrant who wanted to give thanks because he got to America safely. The ship he was sailing on was caught in a terrible storm and he invoked the name of Our Lady Help of Christians, Star of the Sea, and promised that if they made it, he would build this church.

Wow, I should promise that when my book on Leonard Pennario is finally finished, I will build a church! Unfortunately now with the Bishop closing churches I am not sure how he would cotton to the thought of my building one. Some things you used to be able to do then, you cannot do now.

What got me onto that? Back to Maria Hilf. Until a few decades ago, big long parades of pilgrims would walk there. It was especially popular among the Germans, the Polish and the Italians. The church's Web site says the largest pilgrimage took place on V-J Day.

Somewhere along the line someone got the smart idea to knock down the chapel but luckily it was not knocked down. They built a boring modern church next door but the chapel was declared too sacred and unique to destroy. Why is it that in Buffalo everything is always on the brink of demolition? You just have to wonder that sometimes.

Our Lady Help of Christians sits almost right across the street from Airport Plaza Jeweler...

... which adds to its artistic integrity as far as I am concerned. Howard and I always admire Airport Plaza Jeweler for its efficient and ingenious design.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on Maria Hilf.

I am proud to say that it is also a Pub Crawler National Landmark.

Go to Our Lady Help of Christians sometime even if all you do is sit there and soak up the good vibes.

It is a beautiful place!

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