Let me continue with last nights posting because I was not sucessful in uploading all the pics I wanted to.
Before arriving at Reims last night, I pulled into a small town called Beaujeu. The signs about a medeival town and an 11th century church caught my attention. I drove into a charming town and pulled up to a beautiful church. There was notice in the parish bulletin asking for volunteers for a newly formed committee. They are planning the anniversary of the parish's founding. Would you believe - 1000 years. A PARISH MILLENIUM CELEBRATION. The parish of Notre Dame in Beaujeu, France was founded in 1013. My God!!! We worked hard over a 25th anniversary.
Anyway, here is pic of the inside of their church. Another beaitful 12th century gothic, wonderfully intact.
|Notre Dame de Beaujeu in the Beaujolais region.|
Driving into Reims, I stopped at the village on Cluny. It was already late in the afternoon. Unfortunately, as I got there,, the skies opened up. I was looking forward to visiting the remains of the Abbey. In its heyday, it was one of the largest and most influential abbeys in Europe. But like many of these great places, it was destroyed in the French revolution. Many of the monks were executed. Today, of course the French goverment that was formed by the revolution now heralds the value of this place as a major example of patrimony in the French history, as they collect entrance fees to the ruins of what was the largest church in Christendom before St. Peter's in Rome. Ironic, isn't it?
Before arriving in Reims, I stopped in a small town to find a place for lunch. Joinville, France. A sign with the picture of the street running alongside the canal caught my attention.
|The interior of Notre Dame Church, Joinville.|
|The stained glass windows in the clerestory, or the high wall above the arches in the nave are all of the Jerusalem Cross, from the crusades, and the "fleur de lis", the symbol of the Monarchy in France, as well the symbol for the Virgin Mary.|
|Reliquary containing the "sash" of St. Joseph, husband of Mary. This band of tapestry cloth which is wrapped around the roll was given to this parish by St. Louis de France, on his return from the crusades.|
After I get back, remind me that we have to some classes on the use of relics in the church. This band of cloth purported to be the sash of St. Joseph, cannot possibly authentic. It is embroidered with French words, has the fleur de lis all over it, and includes images of France that could not possibly be known at the time of Jesus. And still this "relic" is the center of a huge annual celebration. Let's talk about this when I get back.
Today I arrived in Reims at about 3:30pm. Checked in to my hotel and headed out as soon as possible. I decided to wait until tomorrow when I would have more time to visit the Cathedral. Instead, I found a "coiffeur" and had my hair cut. (I think the last one in Europe before I get home). I wandered into the Church of St. Jacques Compostello. It is another magnificent 12th century gothic, beautifully preserved. It is another living parish. As I walked, there were three elderly ladies sitting at a table right in the entrance. There was a sign, "Acceuil". Welcoming area, or reception. They were distributing leaflets about the church and thier parish. And of course asking where people are from. I had a great time with. In a short while, as I was walking around the church, a gentleman approached me and said the ladies at the entrance told him I am a priest. He is the sacristan. He invited me to the Mass at 5:00pm tomorrow.
|The transept chapel containing the altar of the Blessed Sacrament.|
I will report on that tomorrow.
Glad to be back on line.