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I Went To Church This Morning

by Cary Trivanovich

Written as an email home from his cruise ship stop
at the port of Venice, Italy

- and -

Published in the Travel section of USA Today

I went to church this morning.

I woke up at 5 a.m. unable to get back to sleep.  The view of Venice outside my stateroom window slowly turned from dark to dawn, and I knew I had to take a walk.

Our cruise ship was parked around to the back of Venice, and tourists had to take a 20 minute boat ride to the famous St. Mark's Square to visit the city.  I did that yesterday.

But I learned that I could walk it from the cruise ship in a half hour, given I find my way out of the harbor correctly, squeeze through a particular gap in the back-shipyard fencing, and navigate the right direction through the walkways.  The Sun was not even up yet, and the view beckoned me.  At 6:30 I grabbed a continental breakfast and off I went.

You have to imagine this.  It's Sunday morning, very early.  No one is out.  The hallways (as I call them) were empty and quiet.  The canals were still and the mist of the warm ocean air was fresh and beautiful.  I strolled through the neighborhoods of the Venetian people, where they live apart from tourism.

I walked along the cobblestone walkways as in a maze of ancient buildings, medieval churches, small hideaway gardens, shops, and beautiful old bridges crossing over occasional canals.

I came upon the Grand Canal which runs through the heart of Venice.  I cannot adequately describe the awesome experience it was to stand on the famous Rialto Bridge in the quiet early morning, as the Sun shined on part of the buildings and a lone boat crossed underneath me.

After a few minutes I found myself at Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square).  A few hours from then thousands of people will be there.  But there I stood at this magnificent place among a handful of people.

St. Mark's Cathedral was closed to tourists, but not for mass.  I walked with the locals into the side entrance for early mass, and discreetly sat down and listened to a sermon in Italian.  The grandeur of that place is unlike any building I have ever seen.

I prayed during their moment of silence, that God would be glorified in this place.

So, I went to church this morning.

 
 

Photos (other than the top photo of Cary) are stock images.