Living stones

I heard someone once refer to us as a “tourist church.” At one level that is certainly a compliment to the grandeur of the church structure, its architecture, and art. When you enter the church, there is no doubt that you are “in church.” At another level, given our proximity to the downtown hotels and the Port of Tampa, we have tourists and all manner of visitors – and you know what – they are all most welcome. If a “tourist church” means that we are known for welcoming the visitor, the stranger, the alien, and the tourist – that is a good thing. Continue reading

Rivers of Grace

francisbrnThe Lateran Basilica in Rome is not the oldest church in Rome – that honor seems to belong Santi Quattro Coronati (314); but then that depends on what sources you believe. Old St. Peter’s, the original church on the spot where the current St. Peter’s stands dates to 324, the same year as St. Lorenzo and St. John Lateran. In fact, the Lateran Basilica is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome – the place from where the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, leads his diocese even as he leads the church universal. Continue reading

Build with Living Stones

SH modernThis church of ours has seen a city grow and change. Our parish has been here since 1860 with this church structure our home for worship since 1905. The church has been it fair share of the change. The street out front once had hitching posts; now there are parking spaces. The Hillsborough Hotel and its grandeur marked the property across Florida Ave.; now it is a parking lot. Next door we are watching the federal courthouse become Le Meridien, an exclusive hotel. All the while our church has stood like a silent sentinel and a place of prayer. Continue reading