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Happy Easter!

Well it took me more than a day to post these thoughts, but here goes…

I first want to thank Manya Brachear and John Kim from the Chicago Tribune for their excellent coverage of my day.  I know my brother (who turned 11 on Tuesday!) really got a kick out of reading the article in the newspaper.  I’m certainly not in any position to offer spiritual advice, but I hope that maybe someone who reads the article will find a way to slow down and observe and reflect more on God’s presence in their daily routines.  That was the whole point for me, and I’m certain it doesn’t take a day-long trip around the city to come to that conclusion.

In the end, there really weren’t too many surprises over the course of the day.  I overheard really sweet conversations (like the one mentioned in the Tribune article) and some not so sweet words.  However, I believe St. Ignatius calls us to try to place ourselves in other people’s shoes in order to understand where they’re coming from.  I didn’t know too many of the people I encountered, but I tried to make up little stories in my head about why they were so happy, so sad, so angry, so distant, or so glued to their phone.  In each story, I found it hard to grow annoyed with the person; instead, I found them to be just another “note in the symphony” of the city, so to speak.  I’ll try to remember this the next time I get frustrated by a high school kid blasting music through his headphones on the 6:30am bus.

 

The Churches


I spent a good deal of time walking back and forth to different churches from the L.  Obviously, this trip could have been done in a lot less time if I had just stayed on the train, but I guess that would have defeated the purpose.  Each church was physically different and carried a bit of a different meaning for me.

  1. St. Stanislaus Kotska (The Arrest of Jesus): I wanted to go here because I have some Polish heritage, and I recently discovered that my great-great grandfather was a parishioner here.  It seems as though the current building was built after he moved to downstate Illinois, and the building he lived in on Noble Street was bulldozed for the Kennedy Expressway, but it’s nice to know that a century and a half later I’ve somehow landed in a similar place.
  2. Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica (The Denial of Peter): I used to drive by this church all the time on the way between my house and the school where some of my roommates worked.  Each time it impressed me, and I’m glad the door was open so I could go inside.  Plus, I could walk by the bus depot on Kedzie on the way there, which I found strangely fascinating.
  3. St. Edmund’s (Pilate had Jesus Flogged): The first time I visited this church was for a funeral of a colleague of mine.  It was very different to walk into the church this time and see it nearly empty; the last time there were hundreds of family members, friends, and former students packing the place.
  4. St. Gabriel (The Crowning with Thorns): I decided to go to this church because of my Irish heritage.  It is in a part of town (Canaryville) that I rarely venture to, so that added to the allure.  Unfortunately, the church doors were locked, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
  5. Chapel of the Sacred Heart (Ecce Homo: Here is the Man): This was at my school, and it was perfectly placed at the midpoint of the journey so that I could see some familiar faces.
  6. Holy Name Cathedral (Jesus Meets His Mother): This is Chicago’s cathedral, and I absolutely love its interior.  It was so full of life when I visited since they had just finished a Mass and were distributing holy oils.
  7. Baha’i Temple (Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus): This isn’t a Catholic church, but it’s one of the most meditative spots I’ve found in the Chicagoland area.  It’s so peaceful both inside and outside of the structure.
  8. St. Peter (The Good Thief): To be honest, this was one of the closest Catholic churches I could find near the terminus of the Yellow Line, so that’s why I first came here 3 years ago.  However, the door is always open when I get there and it’s a quaint neighborhood church in a prominent intersection in Skokie.
  9. Madonna Della Strada Chapel at Loyola University (Jesus Dies on the Cross): In previous years I’ve come here during the morning, but this year I arrived around 8pm.  The lake was ominous with a brisk breeze and the constant roar of the waves crashing against the rocks.  Inside, however, it was peaceful as the lights were dimmed and focused on the baptismal font and the altar.
  10. St. Teresa of Avila (Jesus is Laid in the Tomb): This is the parish where I’ve been attending Mass more and more often.  It’s a youthful place with friendly people, and I’m excited to discover where my spiritual journey will take me.

Tuesday by the numbers:

5:00am — Walk out the door

10:12pm — Finish the last segment of the L

224.1 Miles of CTA “L” track covered, much of it repeatedly as I backtracked to get to where I needed to be

8 “L” lines ridden end to end

10 churches visited

$10 spent on a CTA day pass (really made the most out of that one)

Thank you to everyone who followed along and provided encouragement throughout the day!

At Washington/Wells after completing the Brown Line. Thanks to all who followed along! It was a beautiful day in the neighborhoods. I’ll try to post some concluding thoughts tomorrow morning, but for now - after 17 hours traversing this city - it’s time to grab some food, some drink, and hit the hay.

New stations covered: Sedgwick, Chicago (brown), Merchandise Mart

Total stations so far: 145

Brown Line is complete. All lines are complete!

Finish time: 10:12pm

At Washington/Wells after completing the Brown Line. Thanks to all who followed along! It was a beautiful day in the neighborhoods. I’ll try to post some concluding thoughts tomorrow morning, but for now - after 17 hours traversing this city - it’s time to grab some food, some drink, and hit the hay.

New stations covered: Sedgwick, Chicago (brown), Merchandise Mart

Total stations so far: 145

Brown Line is complete. All lines are complete!

Finish time: 10:12pm

Hopping aboard the Brown Line for the last leg of the L left to cover. 3 new stops to go.

Hopping aboard the Brown Line for the last leg of the L left to cover. 3 new stops to go.

St. Teresa of Avila — the last church to visit!

New stations covered: Wellington, Diversey, Armitage

Total stations so far: 142

St. Teresa of Avila — the last church to visit!

New stations covered: Wellington, Diversey, Armitage

Total stations so far: 142

Welcome aboard Brown Line run 425.
Turning around for the home stretch!

New stations covered: Southport, Paulina, Addison (brown), Irving Park (brown), Montrose (brown), Damen (brown), Western (brown), Rockwell, Francisco, Kedzie (brown), Kimball

Total stations so far: 139

Turning around for the home stretch!

New stations covered: Southport, Paulina, Addison (brown), Irving Park (brown), Montrose (brown), Damen (brown), Western (brown), Rockwell, Francisco, Kedzie (brown), Kimball

Total stations so far: 139

Welcome aboard Brown Line run 424.
Transferring to the Brown Line.

New stations covered: Granville, Thorndale, Bryn Mawr, Berwyn, Argyle, Lawrence, Wilson, Sheridan, Addison

Total stations so far: 128

Red Line is complete.

One more to go!

Transferring to the Brown Line.

New stations covered: Granville, Thorndale, Bryn Mawr, Berwyn, Argyle, Lawrence, Wilson, Sheridan, Addison

Total stations so far: 128

Red Line is complete.

One more to go!