Skip to comments.[vanity] Quick AAR on the Vigil Mass for Life
Posted on 01/23/2011 7:26:51 PM PST by markomalley
Just a quick little AAR.
Just got back from that Mass. I have gone to the Vigil Mass almost every year since 2000. This had to be the most crowded I have ever seen it. The seating capacity of the Shrine is 3,500 and the normal SRO capacity is 6,000. This event violated all possible fire codes, even DC's fire code. My guess is that there had to be 8,000 - 9,000 in the upper church and probably another 1,000 - 2,000 in the lower level (memorial hall + crypt church). I would not be surprised if my guesses turned out to be overly conservative.
People upstairs in the Great Church were packed like sardines. I really doubt that EWTN coverage really captured how tightly people were crammed in the side aisles and in the side chapels of the Great Upper Church.
(Sorry for the poor quality of the images, my phone does great outside but horrible inside)
Sardines had more room than what we had upstairs.
In fact, it was so crowded that several people got faint and nearly passed out. I saw three sets of paramedics come and get folks from the first aid station that they set up downstairs (in the visitors lounge, for those who are familiar with the shrine)
I eventually headed downstairs myself, because it was just too hot and too tightly packed.
The crypt church in the shrine was too dark to even think about taking pictures, but here is a pic of the "memorial hall" downstairs in the shrine.
For those who didn't get a chance to watch it on EWTN, the Mass was very impressive. The procession took literally 30+ minutes. There were 5 cardinals (George, O'Malley, Rigali, Wuerl, and DiNardo, the celebrant), at least 50 bishops -- if not more -- including two Eastern Rite bishops, hundreds of priest concelebrants, and still hundreds of other permanent deacons, transitional deacons, and seminarians.
That is one point of commentary: I was very, very impressed with the participation of the Eastern Rites in this Mass. I do not believe I have ever seen so much Eastern participation in, what has traditionally been, a Latin Rite type event. That was really encouraging to see.
Hopefully they turn out better tomorrow -- outside -- than these did above -- inside.
Thanks for posting. We looked for this on EWTN yesterday but to no avail. Nice to be reminded to look for it once again, altho we are on the West coast, so may have missed it.
We all appreciate the AARs.
If we can’t be there it is great to see from your eyes.
You do all of FR (and all Conservatives) a great service in posting these.
Thanks, both now and in advance for your next posts.
I watched the enormous procession but then had to put my own little one in bed so I missed the Mass. It’s beautiful though to think of all babies & moms lifted up in prayer like that. I work tomorrow so I am not able to attend the March. I will be there in prayer, however. God bless you for attending & for all you do.
Mark, thanks for posting all this. Looking forward to tomorrow’s pictures too.
I’m so sorry we’re going to miss the March. This would have been our first year to go, but our water heater went out on Friday, and hubby’s still trying to get the new one installed.
Saw this on EWTN last night. It was awesome and made me so proud to be Catholic!
Thanks for posting this.