Shrine of The Most Blessed Sacrament
I will have to admit that, as I was on the way to the Shrine of The Most Blessed Sacrament, I felt like we were in for a treat. The scenery outside the gate and the gate itself is beautiful. I could only imagine the splendor awaiting inside. There were tourists stopped at the gate taking pictures. Just the drive to the gate is grand and beautiful. On each side of the road coming in there is all of this beautiful pasture land with rolling hills and a white fence. Everything on the grounds were very neat and well maintained. Then you get to the massive gates that let you know that you are in a holy/unique place. After going through the gate you get your first view of The Shrine. WOW!! It is massive in size. After visiting, I would call it a Cathedral. The ceilings are beautiful. There is so much gold inside. While we were visiting, there were two priests available for confession.
This historical landmark is a few miles from the interstate and may be a few minutes of time spent not traveling but, I promise this little piece of Alabama history is just worth every minute. If you are Catholic or not, this is a place you must visit. You should put this on your bucket list for the state of Alabama.
Before you enter the main gate of The Shrine there are places (they look like miniature houses or condos) that can be rented there just before you reach the grounds.
The first place we visited on the grounds of The Shrine was a garden with The Beattitudes and Ten Commandments These are on two separate monuments. They are absolutely beautiful. Both The Beattitudes and Ten Commandments are engraved in stone.
Pictures from our visit: to The Shrine of The Most Blessed Sacrament
The Castle & A Small Church With a Huge Suprise
From there, you can walk to the Castle. This houses one of the gift shops. We took our trip on Sunday each time and the gift shop is closed then. I would be very curious to see what the inside of the castle is like. Just the outside of the castle is amazing and the doors to the castle are very large and beautiful. They have these big wrought iron handles and the doors are rounded at the top and they are massive. They are replicas of the doors from the time period of Jesus while he was on earth. Also back to touring the grounds, we always had to plan our trips on Sunday, and the castle wasn't opened either.
When you turn around, you are met by a smaller church on your right. There are two life size cherubs blowing trumpets in front of the building. These are so pretty. While we visited in the month of December the cherubs were decorated for Christmas. Wow.....when you go inside. There is a stained glass window to the right and left, dark wooden pews to sit on, Holy Water Fountains at the front of the church and prayer candles at the altar and to the right and left of the altar. The best part and most fascinating is the life size replica of the manger scene with Mary, Joseph and Jesus, the stable, the angel and wise men, the animals. The figures are life-size and so very real looking. It is absolutely breathtaking. The couple of times that we visited were during the Christmas Holidays and everything on the grounds was decorated with wreaths, ribbons and you could tell it was decorated for Christmas.
From there, you can walk to the Cathedral. The walk to the Cathedral was a surreal experience. Everything on the grounds is very ornate and beautiful. The religious paintings are also amazing looking.
The lanterns in the outside walk way look like old iron lanterns. They look look very fitting for the time period that this is supposed to depict. At the end of the corridor, this is a very vivid life size Jesus on the Cross. It is the most realistic replication of the Crucifixion that I have ever seen. You can walk on around to the Cathedral. We didn't go into the Cathedral on the first visit. However, when we came back the second time and went into the Cathedral. The Confession Boxes are hand carved and very ornate!! I don't want to give too much away, this is truly a must see place in Alabama!!
There is a lot of area between the parking lot to the Cathedral but, there are plenty of wheel chairs and someone from the church will be happy to help anyone get into the building.
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© 2012 Buster Johnson