We planned on making daily Mass at the Church of the Shrine (that's the church's name) and were cutting it a little close - unfortunately nothing new. We arrived at the shrine with what I felt enough time to spare. But when we piled out of the van we were greeted with some good news and some bad. The good news was that Mass had not started and that there was a golf cart that was able to give us a ride the 1/2 mile up hill. The bad news was that we couldn't bring the stroller in the cart and that dad was going to have to jog the stroller up the hill(mountain) to make Mass.
We made Mass, though I was sweaty and a couple minutes late. When I walked into the church I was amazed. It was nothing short of beautiful. The church was romanesque in style which is my personal favorite. A perfect blend of marble, granite, gold, and african mahogany. Enough paintings, Latin phrases, sculptures, and stain glass to keep any child's attention occupied for an hour. The kind of church that you look at and can't help but ask why they don't make them like this anymore. To help protect the paintings, no flash photography was allowed, so the only disappointment I had was most of my pictures.
I was also very impressed with the Votive Chapel. It was a building which housed a massive pyramid of blue votive candles. The flickering of the candles was a solemn and a tangible reminder of the need so many have for our prayers.
The chapel grounds were amazing themselves. We picked a perfect time to go as the colors were exploding and the air was crisp. There were paths with the Stations of the Cross and the mysteries of the rosary. It gave the kids a change to move around and burn off a little energy and for dad to do some thinking.
It was a great trip and I can't recommend it enough. I really needed it.