Monday, June 27th
By Adeline Hennebury
At the end of the day, we discovered that we spent almost the entire time at church, with a little morning cemetery visit. I personally thought it was great!
We left bright and early from our hotel in Maryland, but still I don't think we missed the morning traffic. Our first stop was at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside of DC. Known for the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the burial place of so many presidents, we planned this stop so Rachel could visit the grave of her grandmother. While she did this, the rest of us watched (from a distance) as the guard was switched. Apparently a very long, bit confusing process, and I left very unsure of what had occurred. Our plan is to look up a YouTube video showing the process.
We boarded our bus with some gratification, as it was already very warm out and wanted that AC, and set off for the National Cathedral. We battled the DC traffic with several blocked off streets, narrow two way streets, and some reckless drivers, but Fr. Josh managed to guide our oversized vehicle to the Cathedral. I was awed.
Though not as large as St. John the Divine, National Cathedral is stunning! We arrived just in time for the 12:00 Holy Eucharist, went to a local restaurant for lunch, and returned for our personal tour. Our lovely tour guide, also known as Fr. josh, led us around, and remembered the majority of the facts he had learned 20 years ago, much to our enjoyment. We were able to spend almost an hour journaling on our own before the 5:30 service of Evening Prayer. Feeling like that was plenty of church for one day, we came back to the hotel for a 'traditional' DC pizza meal (I personally didn't know there was a classic DC pizza) to check off another Bucket List item.
I enjoyed myself tremendously, and especially loved the stained glass windows, pilgrimage center, and the children's church. My favorite stained glass window was the huge Rose Window about the front doors that had a free kind of feeling, with a light-catching crystal in the lower half. I also loved the space window, which had an actual moon rock featured in the glass moon.
We located the Pilgrimage Room, which were soft and carpeted, with books and prayers for travelers. We also visited the children's area, which I loved. If you have not been there before, look it up, or just imagine a normal sized church shrunk to fit pre-schoolers, down to a mini-Paschal candle. It was so cute!
We learned so much, and I loved the Cathedral. I shared with the group that we could have spent our WHOLE pilgrimage in that building, even sleeping there.
Come back tomorrow for our experiences on the mall...