Thursday, July 29, 2010

God Appears When You Least Expect It

If you're following me on Twitter, you might've seen a tweet (yesterday) about my "road trip" with Verbum Veritatis blogger, Joe. If you were still on Twitter about an hour or two later you might've seen me "checking in" (via foursquare) to a church in Los Angeles. What you might have not known is that we had absolutely no intention of going to a church but we still ended up there... and that it seemed to be a sign from God that He was listening to our conversation.

If you've read this blog for, at least, a year now you've probably seen me mention Joe occasionally. He's a fellow L.A. Catholic blogger (though his location will soon change) who's been my math tutor as well as a good friend. He went to Mass with us the day after my father passed away last year and we've gone to both Mass and confession a couple of times with my family. I've known he was meant for the religious life since I met him but I did not push him one way or another. I let him discern his vocation in peace, with encouragement, just like I do with all my friends. Recently he was admitted to the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy and will begin his postulancy next month. Since he will be relocating to Philadelphia, we decided to have one last hurrah before he left. At the last minute, I asked him to do me the favor of driving me into Hollywood (I live in the urban suburbs of L.A.) because I'd been craving imported Irish cookies I had had a few months ago. He agreed and we set off for the heart of Tinseltown.

About 80% (if not more) of the conversations between Joe and I have something to do with Catholicism and/or religion. While driving down the 101 freeway we started talking about the Mercedarians and about vocations in general. Without going into the specifics of our vocation stories (which I hope to write about some day), we both agreed that we were meant for the vocation that would be the "hardest" for us (but in a good way): the religious life for him and the vocation of marriage for myself. We were actually still talking about both my vocation, about how I will need patience and a lot of faith while I wait for whomever God has in store for me, and our liturgical abuses at parishes when we were about to reach our destination. Fortunately for us, this woman in a white car would not let us into the left lane where we needed to be... causing us to drive further up to be able to make a turn. What we did not expect was to find a hidden gem neither of us have even heard of: a gorgeous Catholic church on the outskirts of Hancock Park.

Christ the King Roman Catholic Church is absolutely breathtaking, especially inside. Both Joe and I were in awe that something so beautiful was located in Hollywood/Los Angeles, especially with the parishes we're used to seeing. Not that I'm ragging on the local parishes, they are all lovely in their own ways but this parish was like nothing I've ever seen in person. The stained glass windows, the location of the tabernacle... the entire inside of the church literally made me speechless. Unfortunately it was too dark inside so the pictures didn't come out too great, nor did they do the parish any justice, but I tried to take as many pictures as I could. (And, btw, if you take any of these pictures from the blog please give me credit for it.) Click the pictures to make them bigger.

The stain glass windows over the altar:
From Christ the King Roman Catholic Church

The confessional (with Joe looking at it):
From Christ the King Roman Catholic Church

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary:
From Christ the King Roman Catholic Church

Divine Mercy:
From Christ the King Roman Catholic Church

From the back of the church (does not do it any justice):
From Christ the King Roman Catholic Church

Mini grotto outside:
From Christ the King Roman Catholic Church

Close up:
From Christ the King Roman Catholic Church

As we were leaving, we found candles and lit one before we left. Once we were outside, I could see the Hollywood sign almost straight across from the parish. As I told Joe, to me it seemed like it was God's way of saying that He was there with us, never leaving us alone, even in the midst of debauchery and sin (which is prevalent in Hollywood). Even though we may seem like a minority in this great big city, God's not going to leave us alone and that gem was proof.

On the way to two different Irish shops (which I will actually write about next time; there are stories there as well), we were talking about how our discovery of this gorgeous church was like a sign for us. We had been talking about finally being at peace with our vocation discernments and everything else when we stumbled across the church. It was like God was telling us He had heard our conversation and that we had done the right thing. Since we were also talking about St. Therese of Lisieux (whom I coincidentally had a picture of in my purse) and had talked about the Little Flower being our intercessor during the vocation discernment, I also took it as rose from her. :)

As soon as I got home from our road trip, I told my mom about the parish and she immediately said that we had to go to Mass there at least once. I don't know when but we definitely will. :) Anyway, I thought it was a pretty good story to share so here I am blogging it. :D

Alright, I need to go catch up on emails since I had no access to my email account for a couple of hours two days ago (not good, Google!) as well as try to finish a book I want to review on this blog. :D I hope everyone is having a good week thus far!

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

It was beautiful to spend the day with you. God's little humble reminder that He still loves us...I'm going to blog on it eventually :)

Roger said...

Great pics! BTW, if you're still looking for an LA-ish area parish that has/does/celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass, check out St. Therese in Alhambra. Haven't been there myself, though, so I can't vouch for the quality. ;)

Emmy Cecilia said...

Roger - unfortunately Alhambra is about an hour away with a car and since I don't have a car it's a little difficult to get there. :)