April 21, 2015
"Is that St. Patrick's Cathedral?" asked the passerby.
"Yes. It's just been cleaned."
"So that's why I didn't recognize it. I was looking for something gray."
To the pleasure of all, St. Pat's has emerged from its cocoon and it is brilliant to behold. Scaffolding is still up inside the cathedral, sharing the space with worshippers; and work may go on through the rest of this year. It is an enormous building, after all, occuping a full city block between 50th and 51st Street, and Fifth and Madison Avenues. On the outside the building was always impressive; now it is magnificent. It makes one think of the panoply and power of the Church, stately processions, gorgeous robes, bejeweled crosses and cardinals' rings, incantations of the priests and congregation extolling the glory of God.
It also makes one think of the cost—$177 million—and wonder how far that money would go to aid the poor and feed the hungry of the earth, traditional missions of Christianity. Not very far, maybe, since world hunger is not assuaged by one meal. But to be a glittering promise of sublime afterlife for millions—that is conceivably worth it.
What's next for St. Patrick's?