St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York

Pope Benedict XVI is coming to town next week. Since he's going to St. Patrick's Cathedral to lead a pontifical mass for priests, deacons and religious leaders, I thought of visiting this massive Neo-Gothic church in Fifth Avenue today. I've just attended the morning mass at my own parish but I wanted to see how the seat of the Archdiocese of New York is preparing the welcome mat for the pope. As all pope visits go, this is one major event not just for Catholics but the entire city.
Talk about that massive police force being put in place along with Secret Service agents and it seem like the pope is getting more protection than George Bush.

By the time I got inside St. Patrick's, a mass being officiated by Cardinal Egan, New York's archbishop, was still underway. The full works are in order: voices from the children's choir wafted through the air along with the stirring music from the pipe organ. Cardinal Egan himself was resplendent in his embroidered vestment and mitre. Meanwhile, security staff at the end of the nave are watching the cordoned-off area and gently reminding tourists not to use the flash when taking photos.

Yes, St. Patrick's Cathedral happens to be one of New York's tourist attractions and not even a Holy Mass can deter them from entering the premises. In hushed silence, tourists - whether Catholic or not - mill around the area just next to this massive bronze doors that opens up to the swanky shops on Fifth Avenue. When the mass is over, everyone is free to roam around all the way to the main altar or the sanctuary.

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