Our Trip to Ave Maria

Recently, my youngest son and I had the opportunity to travel with friends to Ave Maria, FL for an art show. It was a lovely trip. I wanted to see the town since I first heard about it being planned. It is still, of course, being built, but I was impressed by the small town atmosphere and how the children were able to ride their bikes everywhere. People who live there use golf carts to get around, even to the supermarket. I thought I would share some pictures.

This is the “Oratory.” If you are unfamiliar with this term, as I was, the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent, says it is “a structure other than a parish church, set aside by Church authority for prayer and the celebration of Mass.” So, it is not actually a parish. It belongs to the University. It is in the exact center of the town and everything goes around it. It is absolutely beautiful. And no, that is not my son in the picture.

This is the inside. Where I live, all the churches are so….uninspiring, boring, boxy and do very little to promote true worship. You go there because that is what is available, but this is gorgeous. It is a bit modern but I still like it. The crucifix, I’m told, was imported from Europe, barely fit through the door and it is stunning.

The place is built like a fortress. The walls are very thick stone. There is a permanence to the place that is very comforting. I know that buildings are not built like this anymore, but this will still be standing 500 years from now when nothing else will. The natural light coming in from the ceiling, and the stained glass was just lovely.

I was particularly impressed with the most beautiful Stations of the Cross I have ever seen.

Finally, this statue of Our Lady of Grace is just awe-inspiring. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of it, but I did not want to disturb the people praying in that area. The tabernacle, which was farther away, behind the altar is also very beautiful. I wish we could have attended Mass there but I’m glad we went.