Homer's Travels: Angels And Swallows

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Angels And Swallows

On Sunday we were supposed to go to the Doo Dah Parade and Mission San Juan Capistrano. Well, it turns out that the Doo Dah Parade, advertised as the "occasional" parade, will be on 20 January 2008. The 2007 parade will be held in 2008. Go figure. They were holding the Doo Dah Parade Queen auditions on Sunday and I suggested that the wife and the "J" apply but, after contemplating the idea with a twinkle in their eyes, they decided not to. So we postponed the parade trip. We still were interested in going to Capistrano and the wife suggested we go to Mass at the Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. So on Sunday the "J" dropped by and we headed to the Cathedral.

The Cathedral is a little controversial because of its contemporary design that some consider ugly. I'll have to admit, the outside is very blocky and not that attractive. We had some time before Mass started so we walked around the grounds including the children's park and the fountains before dropping some dough at the gift shop.

We entered the cathedral and walked through some of the art exhibits in the small side chapels. The inside of the cathedral is pretty impressive. There is a mixture of the old and the new. The tapestries are very interesting and very well done. The sconces are each unique.

Mass started and we sat down. Cardinal Mahony presided over the Mass. Nothing special here, just an ordinary Catholic Mass. An interesting factoid: The Cardinal's chair is made of wood from 6 of the 7 continents. Unfortunately none of my pictures of the chair came out.

After Mass we went down and walked through the mausoleum. Very cool. There were some beautiful stained glass windows. I saw Gregory Peck's burial spot. Pictures of the cathedral and the mausoleum can be found here.

After one last visit to the gift shop we got back on the road and drove down to Mission San Juan Capistrano. We parked near the Basilica and walked around the corner to visit the Mission. The cost of admission included an electronic tour. I listened to some of it but most of the time I just wandered the grounds. The main structure of the mission was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812 when over 40 people died including two young boys in the bell tower ringing the bells. They have decided not to rebuild it and to preserve it as close to its present state. I think that is a wise choice. It shows what this mission has gone through. The small Serra Chapel, under renovation when we were there, is considered the oldest church in California.

The mission grounds were very attractive. The gardens were in bloom and fountains were full of colorful fish. The flowers attracted a large number of monarch butterflies. There were no swallows here at this time and I hear that they don't come here as much as they used to - too many tourists. This was a beautiful mission. The sun was starting to get low and the angles of the shadows enhanced the views. Everywhere you looked there was something that would catch your eye. I was very impressed by this one. More attractive then most in my opinion. Pictures of the mission can be found here.


I want to take a brief moment at the end of this post to explain to the occasional readers of Homer's Travels about me and religion. Despite the Mission posts, Salvation Mountain, the Rosary Bowl, the search for Mary apparitions in the Mojave, the Pilgrimage of Saint James I am contemplating, and other Catholic related posts, I am not a religious person. The wife is Catholic and, even though I am not, I do respect her beliefs and I do enjoy this stuff from an historical and cultural perspective.

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