Monday, January 10, 2011

Explorations: St. Patrick's Log Church

I awoke today with an adventurous spirit, determined to make a great discovery.  So, I got in my car, camera in hand, and just started to drive.  And I found something beautiful.
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Several times along the way, I contemplated turning back, because the roads were snowy, and I feared I would get stuck out on some country road.  But something urged me forward, perhaps the Holy Spirit.  Because where I ended up was here:
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This is Saint Patrick's Church, a log church build out in Sugarcreek Township in Armstrong County.  It was built by  Irish immigrants in 1806.  Parishoners claim this was the first church build west of the Allegheny Mountains.  It sits next to St. Patrick's Cemetary, where undoubtedly some of those immigrants are buried.  Unfortunately, the church was not open.  In the spring and fall, I believe it is open so that you can go inside, and the parish does still occasionally celebrate mass in the log church.  I would love to attend one of those masses sometime.  
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St. Patrick keeps watch over all.  It was so silent and still when I was out there.  So much beauty.
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In the lower part of the cemetery, there are old graves, this one belonging to Patrick Maloney, d. 1828

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At the upper part of the cemetary, there are newer graves, which I did not want to disturb or photograph out of respect, but I did capture a few images of some statues, one which appeared to be a general monument, and one that sat atop a headstone.
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I wish my camera could have captured the quiet, still, beauty I found in this place this morning.  

The Irish have a phrase for a place where the veil between heaven and earth is more permeable, and the two places can almost touch: a thin place.  I have no doubt that this small piece of western Pennsylvania is indeed a thin place.  I felt God's presence and peace here, and I have a feeling I will visit it many times in the future.

Please feel free to view the rest of the photos I took in my Flickr photostream located here.