Many of us, when we have had the chance to visit a great church like the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., St. Peter’s in Rome and other cathedrals and houses of worship, also have a chance to visit smaller chapels in these great places of prayer, worship and music. For example, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, there are many chapels on the upper level and the lower level dedicated to Mary the Mother of God, as she is known around the world. I have often had the chance to visit the Chapel of the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, both in the cathedral. Both of these images of the Mother of God are important to me for many reasons.
In the years that I was studying in Rome, and even since then, I have had the blessing to celebrate Mass for pilgrim groups: in the Irish chapel under the floor of the basilica, and in the Polish Chapel, for instance. Even last year I had the blessing to celebrate Mass in the side chapel on the main floor where now Saint John Paul II, one of my heroes, is buried. These chapels have been there many years before our arrival, and we are blessed to be able to pray in them and visit them.
However, what a blessing we now have on the Christ Cathedral campus. Right before our eyes is living history as chapels of prayer and worship, thanks to the generosity and goodness of so many, now come to life right before our eyes. All of these chapels on the campus are surely signs of the “living House of God” as each is blessed and dedicated.
Just this past Sunday I blessed and dedicated the “Chapel of Unity and Reconciliation” on the third floor of the Cultural Center in honor of the Sisters of St. Joseph. There is a magnificent mural by the great local artist John Swanson that depicts Jesus washing the feet of the 12 Apostles. Then there is the “Chapel in the Sky” in the Tower of Hope, which has a magnificent view of Orange County. That was also recently blessed. Then there is the large gallery, often used for prayer and funerals by the parish. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is a visible testimony of the necessity of “praying always” when we see folks there in prayer with their intentions before the Blessed Sacrament. There will soon be an oratory for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament on the fourth floor of the Christ Cathedral Academy building, as a place for the staff of the Pastoral Center to pray. There is the beautiful colored marble “Crean Chapel” in the base of the carillon. Then there is the original Garden Grove Community Church, now known as the Arboretum, which was Dr. Robert Schuller’s original church. This now is the home for the worshipping community of the parish of Christ Cathedral, where more than 10,000 people come to celebrate Mass and pray each weekend. And most incredibly, this is all taking place before the actual Cathedral building is complete!
All of these chapels not only invite us to pray and reflect, but to show how the living Body of Christ is growing daily on the Christ Cathedral campus. I would invite everyone who reads these words to come and visit our campus. The Lord is calling you to find a “home” and blessing there.
As Saint Paul would say, we are all members of the “Household of God,” and the chapels of Christ Cathedral invite us to reflect on the reality and become the “Living Stones” of the Body of Christ. I hope to see some of you on campus someday.