A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Sunday, October 02, 2005

This Gladdens My Heart

AP: French Quarter Cathedral Holds Sunday Mass---

NEW ORLEANS - The bells of historic St. Louis Cathedral rang out across New Orleans on Sunday, calling the faithful to the first Mass since Hurricane Katrina hit more than a month ago.

The Mass had a dual purpose: to mourn the more than 900 who perished, and to bring hope to those who remain behind and face the task of rebuilding.

"The St. Louis Cathedral is a symbol that really unites all of our city, and this is what we're going to need to move forward," said archdiocesan spokesman the Rev. William Maestri.
Located in Jackson Square, the triple-spired cathedral was originally built in 1727. The first Church of St. Louis lasted 61 years, until it caught fire and was rebuilt in the same location. Since then, it has withstood hurricanes and hailstorms. It was left virtually untouched by Katrina's fierce winds and high waters.

Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass there in 1987. And after the famed and raucous Mardi Gras celebration, penitents head to St. Louis Cathedral to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday, to repent as the Lenten season before Easter begins.

It is featured prominently on postcards and paintings of Jackson Square, and is a regular stop for tourists, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

The Mass was being held while relief workers and crews continued the massive task of continuing to remove the floodwaters. Water was still being pumped out of the heavily flooded lower Ninth Ward. Officials expected the pumping to be completed by midweek, said Mitch Frazier, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers.