Sunday, October 17, 2010

Montreal (part II) and Quebec churches

(More vacation pics. Fantastic photos are of Scott's Flickr collection. The shaking videos are from my iPhone (YouTube).)

Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal
(aka Saint Joseph's Oratory)



This was my first time seeing this amazing hill top basilica. It was a great place to explore. We quietly watched a service held in the 1917 Crypt Church at the base of the building. The adjacent 1948 Votive Chapel and tomb of Brother André contained candles and crutches of those healed by Brother André. Our occupational therapist friend observed that apparently all the people healed seemed to have used the same size crutch. Coincidentally, Brother André was canonized as Saint Brother André just after our trip.


The 1967 Basilica is huge. Apparently, the dome is the third largest in the world and the church is the largest in Canada. We were warned by a native Montrealer that while the view and the church's exterior were beautiful, the interior was not so much. In contrast to the exterior, the interior is modernist/minimalist 60s. The interior style conflicts with the exterior.

The view from the hill top at sunset was terrific. It was a dark and a little windy so we didn't walk through the garden or the small chapel built by Brother André.

One of the strangest sights was seeing pilgrims climb 99 steps on their knees to the basilica. I don't mean disrespect, but it's sort of like riding an escalator next to someone struggling to climb stairs. It felt like we were cheating merely walking up the steps. (Although as an out-of-shape fatty, the stairs were plenty hard.)

Université du Québec à Montréal's Judith-Jasmin Pavilion
(formerly Saint Jacques )

For a city that probably wouldn't miss losing a church building, it's great that this university kept this church's bell tower and ornate entrances.


Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral
(aka Our Lady of Quebec City)

During our one full day in Quebec City, we made sure to visit the Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral in Old Quebec City. Yet another beautiful basilica.

I was a surprised to see large flat screen monitors lining some of the columns like a sports bar (or a tacky megachurch). Tammam pointed out that they were probably to allow those seated in the side aisles to see around the columns.


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