Even more wonderful was sharing this experience with some Philly friends I hadn't seen in years. After giving them the heads up that this would be happening in South Jersey, they generously made the trip out to join in the veneration with me. A friend of theirs from Central Jersey also came out for the night. How blessed is that?
Anyway, upon arrival at the parish (which I'd never been to before), I was met with one of the most majestic sculptures I've seen in Jersey. I cannot exaggerate the enormity of this structure. It smacks you in the face as soon as you turn the corner. Whoever plotted out the design was brilliant. It's location ensures that it can be seen from any angle as you approach, and the design, itself, is full of theological reference. I love it!
Luckily, I had arrived almost an hour early (because I know how packed this veneration would get!) so I had plenty of time to take photos of the surrounding sculptures. I've put them into the slideshow below for you to enjoy!
After taking photos of the gorgeous Crucifixion sculpture, I went wandering around towards the other statues that dotted the grounds. A little fountain caught my eye, and as I neared, I found St. Joseph holding the Child Jesus amongst the spray of water. To his left, I noted that this parish was lucky enough to boast an Adoration Chapel. Yay! Unfortunately, however, it wasn't open when I tried the door. My guess is the organizers were attempting to herd folks into the church where the presentation was to take place, so I couldn't really grumble. Instead, I snapped a few photos of the Pieta statue that sat in front of the chapel.
When you cycle through those photos, note the gorgeous brick-work that serves as a background for those statues. I have no idea who designed this parish, but kudos to whoever it was! Everything is meticulously beautiful!
I saw a crowd of people moving up the stairs of the church, so I figured it was time for me to high-tail it inside. Before I did, however, I stopped to take another photo of yet another statue they had outside the front of their church - it was one of Our Lady holding Jesus as a toddler. I really liked that one!
Upon entering the lobby, I was immediately struck by two signs (also photographed) that I immediately wished were placed over the doors of all churches. You'll see why when you read them. Ha!
Inside the church, I noted some of the most exquisite stained glass windows I'd ever seen. Each was a different apparition of Our Lady, ranging from Mt. Carmel to the Miraculous Medal to La Salette to Fatima. Each was more brilliant than the last. Unfortunately, I couldn't take as many photos inside the church as I had wanted to. I didn't want to disturb those who were praying, and by the time the presentation was over, it was too dark to get good shots of these colorful windows.
However, the painting of Our Lady that you'll see below is actually painted on their ceiling. It is massive, so I apologize that it seems a little distorted. It's only because I had a difficult time getting a proper angle of the ceiling without lying flat on my back in the middle of the center aisle. Ha ha.
I think this is one of those churches I'll have to go back to to snap some more photos of. They had a gorgeous statue of Our Lady in one of the niches to the left, and I wanted to photograph her so badly!!! I knew I'd interfere with prayer, however, so I kept my longing to myself on that score. They also had one of the most intricate tabernacle lamps I've ever seen. If for nothing else, I'll go back just to photograph that!!!
Anyway, I feel very lucky to have found myself at this parish Friday night. What's more, I learned that this is the elementary school my husband attended as a child. How he was able to make his way through here and not gain an appreciation for our heritage is beyond me. Ah well. It's truly some beautiful, beautiful artwork, though.