Monday, October 2, 2006

Part of Ceiling Falls at Marytown Shrine

In Libertyville, IL (National Shrine of St. Maximillian Kolbe).
I've been here many times, beautiful shrine where perpetual adoration takes place around the clock and there always seems to be a good crowd of people praying. This is one of those places you can "sense" God's presence. The heat of the vigil candles burning in the foyer hits you in the face as you walk into the Church, preparing you for you encounter with the Divine.
Thanks to John H. from Kentucky for pointing this out to me, for some reason when I first looked at the story this morning I thought it had happened at another church. Although four people were injured, none were apparently serious. One person who might have taken a direct hit, left just before it fell--the fruit no doubt of her time in adoration. People who pray before the Blessed Sacrament are more able to deal with reality--in this case a stomach ache--perhaps a premonition--that kept her from suffering more seriously.

From the Chicago Tribune:

A group of about 50 women, who were visiting the chapel as thousands of pilgrims do annually, was scheduled to enter the chapel within minutes of the collapse, which occurred around 6:45 p.m.

"I shudder to think what it would have been like on a Sunday morning," said McKinley, the rector and guardian at Marytown, a 12-acre Conventual Franciscan friary and national shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

The group of parishioners was preparing for devotion at the chapel, which is the centerpiece of the Marytown complex.

McKinley said a parishioner who had been sitting in a pew where the ceiling section landed had left shortly before the collapse because she had a stomachache and wanted to lie down.

"Good thing she did," he said.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, the site's main chapel, was modeled after St. Paul Outside the Walls, one of four patriarchal basilicas in Rome. It was built to memorialize the 1926 International Eucharistic Congress, the first held in the U.S.