Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Doing Stuff: Day 6, The Shrine of the Miraculous Medal

Chelten Avenue isn't exactly a place where you'd expect hundreds of people to flock to. It's an ugly, beat-up area of town, tucked away in a hard-to-reach corner of the city where there isn't much but Chinese restaurants, 40 stores and blight.

But every Monday, literally thousands of people flock to the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, a large church which is one of the most visited sites for Catholics in Philadelphia.

The Miraculous Medal dates back to 1830, when a young woman studying as part of the Sisters of Charity witnessed several appearances from the Vrign Mary, the last of which ordered her to make a medal in her image which would provide blessings for those who wore it around their neck.

The church in Philadelphia is a shrine to the power of the Miraculous Medal. It's a beautiful cathedral-type of building, one of the most stunning churches I've ever been in. And inside, the atmosphere is extremely solemn and a bit intense. During the church service, folks line up for a confessional, people openly weep in the pews and kneel before the various statues dedicated to Mary, many gripping their copy of the medal like a rosary.

I'm a somewhat practicing Catholic. I've always been skeptical of this kind of True Believer stuff. But who am I to doubt it when a priest starts running down the list of miracles which people subscribe to the power of a medal? My friend George whom I work with, his aunt from Minnesota came to town after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and only given a few weeks to live. She prayed for nine consecutive Mondays at this church and now, 12 years later, she's still alive.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey gregg,
i used to go there alot with my grandmom when i was a kid, i totally forgot about that place.

12:16 PM  

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