Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Today's church review will not be traditional, but -- frankly -- none of my reviews have been traditional, so that shouldn't be too startling. The church in question is well beyond the confines of Hollywood (though it can clearly seen from the Hollywood freeway), and it is well outsides the norms of a conventional church. For starters, it has its own gift shop.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is in the heart of historic Los Angeles. It would be highly visible even if it wasn't massive in size because it can be seen by every motorist stuck in traffic on the 101 freeway (which is every motorist stuck in traffic). What sets this review apart from the others is that I didn't technically attend worship here. I was in Los Angeles on Saturday and had never seen this church up close, so I decided to take a look inside. I don't think my review will be lacking too many details, however, since this is a Catholic church, and if you've seen one mass you've essentially seen them all.

The Catholics don't do anything small as a general rule, but this is the "mother church" of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, so they held nothing back. It has its own parking structure, a massive outdoor activity area with fountains, tables, chairs, and a children's play area. Almost every Catholic church has a place to light a candle, kneel down, and pray to the Virgin Mary -- you'll find that outside as well, overlooking the aforementioned Hollywood freeway. I already mentioned the gift shop -- the church also has free wifi.
Walking inside, you'll find a very modern approach to the very classic cathedral arrangement. In a twist, the alter is close to the entrances (there is one at each side), though the holy water is in the rear of the sanctuary. You see the hint of old school cathedral ceilings, but with some key differences. The dark wood is gone, as is the stained glass and the frescoes, all replaced by lighter, friendlier equivalents.
One side corridor of the church seems dedicated to the look and feel of the past, but the rest is contemporary. And in this instance I approve. It is still a church; it still feels like a church; and it still seems to be dedicated to the concept of "God's house." However, even God's house can be renovated from time to time. Granted, I didn't attend mass here, but despite the fact the cathedral has its own coffee shop (that serves Starbucks), I'd wager cups don't get brought inside. I'd wager people remove their hats when they enter (I did). And I'd wager that when parishioners introduce themselves and shake hands with Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik, he doesn't say, "Please, call me Kevin."
At the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Catholicism is taken very seriously, because this is where popes, cardinals, and bishops gather to worship while in town. That said, I cannot help but wonder where Jesus would break bread while in the city. I won't claim to speak for Him or understand His wants, but if I had to guess I'd say that Skid Row would see more of Jesus than the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.



Sunday Scorecard

This will be a regular part of my weekly reviews, a series of short-answer questions about the day's experience.

What is the contact info for the church?

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

What was the denomination?


What Bible verses were referenced?


What are the demographics of the congregation?


Was the atmosphere formal or casual?

formal interior, less formal exterior

What was the music like?


How was the use of PowerPoint?

None at all

Being Hollywood, were there celebrities in the congregation?


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