Honoring Zephire's request? Sorry, I wrote an epic.
Thor9 last edited by
The great Thor as returned again. I never viewed my past occasional meetings Cardinal Edward Eagan as some great experience. It was just a normal encounter with me. You take away the façade of his position, and he is just a man like everyone else. What I had learned of him is the fact that he is a very “social person”, and there had been times when the security at the Church had to push him along during his rounds at the end of a Mass. I guess according to them…he would take too much time talking to people.
During my time there, I learned that he was the complete opposite of the former Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, John Joseph O’Connor, who was the previous Cardinal of St. Patrick‘s Cathedral, who died of brain cancer in 2000. The only thing I remember of that man was that a lot of people did not like him, and he was viewed a controversial Cardinal at the time. I learned of it through the Press. The ways of the Catholic Church never concerned me at that time either.
I had never planned to visit any church, and I did not believe in God, or like any church. It was because of my non-belief that people in their so-called righteous condemnation of me, said that I would go to Hell in the worse way, and so on in their lectures. Because I would never speak of religion (I was very ignorant of the concept), or speak of Jesus Christ, or any of that other stuff. I did not care of such, or think of it. I did not understand that this was a different kind of hatred back then, and from the very people, who I now see as hypocrites to the Faith’s of their churches, and walk in the false belief that they are sinless in the world, and Heaven is guaranteed to them when their life ends. The religious hypocrites, are the greatest sinners, and the one’s who live their life wickless more than anyone. For this is what I see now when I have an encounter with such a person, who goes around passing their form of righteous judgment on others. I was blind to all this originally, until my “spiritual eye” was opened.
My spiritual awaking occurred in May 2001. The exact date is written in one of my past journals. I remember the day being on a Saturday, and I was wandering down towards central Manhattan. I was coming from the Museum of Natural History, and I made my way to 5th Avenue, and started heading down that street. There was no particular reason, except that I was just “killing time”.
I continued on my journey, until I caught sight of the cathedral to my right. I did not know it was St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was just this big stone church. I started walking towards the church, and before I had know it…I was walking up the stairs, and I entered the church through a side entrance on the right. The church was crowded, and all the seats in the pews were taken, and it was full of Hispanic people. Then I heard the church music while I was slowly making my way to the front of the Church trying to find a seat. There were no vacant spaces to be had. So while the Mass started, I went to the right against the wall across from the first 5 rows with some other people there. I heard the Gregorian chants, and the singing choir, and everything was in Spanish. It was 2:00pm in the afternoon, and I arrived in time for a Spanish Mass. Then I saw the main doors of the Cathedral open, and I saw a procession coming through the doors, being lead by priests in the forefront, and there was a man in front of them, and he had a staff, and he was different from the others, and he was not Hispanic, he was White, and he was leading the precession of Hispanic priests. I realized that he was the head of the church, because of the headgear. That part of his priestly garment made him different from everyone else. I did not know who he was…nor did I care. All I remember at the time was that he was walking down the middle isle with the others behind him. Then I saw a stature being carried on a platform, supported by two bars, carried on the shoulders of four male priests on each side. All of them were marching down the isle heading towards the front. Then they reached the pulpit, and went up to the altar with the statue that I thought was the Virgin Mary at first, but I later learned that it was a representation of the “Lady of Guadalupe” the patron saint of Mexico. It was then I realized that I walked into the start of a Mexican Catholic Mass. Anxiety had suddenly overtaken me. I was tense after that. I felt like I was intruding in a church mass full of Mexicans paying homage to their saint. I just stayed where I was…kept my mouth shut, and just observed everything, but I remained tense.
While I was still absorbed in my anxiety, I was not aware that there had been a woman calling to me. I never hear her during the noise of the choir, the organ, and the Gregorian chanting that was in Spanish. I seem to remember that there were others next to me that touched my arms, and shoulders to alert me that a particular Mexican woman wanted my attention. I looked into the direction that the others indicated. She was motioning to me to come to her at the pew that she was sitting in with her family. I did as I was told without giving it a second thought.
She smiled at me, and I heard her say in English, “sit down, sit down“, while was pointing to the pew where she was sitting. Then I looked at her seven children all ranging in age from my observation, and then her children looked at me. Then I heard the woman speak in Spanish to them, and they moved over, and made space for me. The woman gestured to me to sit down. I moved to take my seat with her family. The woman sat inside the pew first, and I sat next to her at the end on the right. She asked me if I was comfortable, and I said, “yes”, and I smiled in assurance at her, and she smiled back. Then we all focused on the rest of the Spanish Mass that was two hours long. I was comfortable after that. I was apart of that Mexican woman’s family for those two hours. We were all reading the programs that were in both English and Spanish. There were some brakes in the Mass in which English was spoken, but I will say that most of the readings were in Spanish, and the entire choir sung in Spanish.
I later learned during the Mass that the priest with the staff, and the priestly headgear was Archbishop Cardinal Edward Eagan, who was fluent in both Spanish, and English as he gave his sermons from the alter, which were very uplifting, and entertaining, because he was good and hold your attention. There were periods in which he would share a story about an event that happened in his life…either to him, or with another person that he had an encounter with, and the outcome of the tale would have a happy ending. Cardinal Egan would crack a joke here and there, and get people to laugh. He would say it in both English and Spanish, because there were some people there, who spoke English only, like me. I personally never noticed anyone else like me. I was not trying to find anyone. I was contend over that fact that this woman, this stranger put my fears to rest, and made me feel as if I belonged for a little while. Even if it was for only two hours. The experience was with it. I was happy.
When the Spanish Mass was over, and all the Mexican Catholics began filing out of the Cathedral, and especially out through the main doors. The woman, and her seven children said good-buy to me in English. I am not entirely sure, but I believe that the woman also asked me if I had enjoyed the Mass. I told her that I did very much, and I could not help smiling when I said this. I never saw that woman again, and I was never able to catch a future “Lady of Guadalupe” type mass. By the time I would find out about it was later that day on the news, or the day after. I would be made at myself, and I would promise myself that I would catch that particular Spanish Mass again in the future.
I was not the same person after that religious experience. Something changed that day, and I left the Cathedral a different person. I spend the rest of the afternoon pondering over why I did this. Eventually I came to the realization that the cause was “divine” in nature. I was purposely guided here to this particular church. I knew very little of St. Patrick’s Cathedral until that day. It was God’s doing. He had me guided to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and I was changed. I continued to go back there in the future. I attended Mass on both Saturday, and Sunday for months afterwards. I met a psychic in Times Square Area on 42nd Street, named Laura, who had done a tarot card reading on me, and told me that “my spiritual eye” was now open. I was told that I was becoming spiritual. This revelation was going over my head at the time, because I saw no significance in what Laura was saying.
I remember--during my first Mass experience at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I never got close enough to the Cardinal to shake his hand, or great him personally that day. However--I did notice that he was walking along the left side of the isle, and was greeting people, shaking hands, and giving his blessing in Spanish, until the church ushers there eventually rushed him off.
However--during my weekly visits to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the future. I had eventually had my occasional direct encounters with the man from 2001 to 2009, until he retired due to health problems. I used to have pictures of him on a past cell phone, I used to own, but those pictures got lost, when my phone was damaged. This was before I leaned how to transfer my pictures to my computer’s memory.
Now the new Archbishop is Timothy Michael Dolan of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He has been appointed since April 15, 2009. I saw him once during a Mass, but I never meet him. He is not as “sociable” like Edward Eagan was. I find him a lot less entertaining.