The University’s Theology Department sponsored a field trip to New York City last weekend. I and a handful of other Theology majors and minors boarded a Martz bus to New York at the very early hour of 7 am. Along with us came two Theology professors. After the 2 hour ride, we arrived safely in the Port Authority terminal. From there, we decided to take a long walk to our first destination, the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer. We stopped along the way at the New York Public Library and the Bryant Park Holiday Market, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
We arrive at St. Vincent Ferrer just in time for mass. We sat on dark intricately carved wooden chairs in a choir format (two rows of chairs facing each other) and we knelt on wooden kneelers. After mass, the Dominican who had said mass for us gave us a tour of the Church. It was so beautiful. The architecture was gothic.
We ate lunch with the Dominican at a nearby Italian restaurant. We ordered far too much pizza for our group, but it was so good, so it was worth it. We then had a bit of down time during which some of us got coffee and others explored St. Vincent more. After our respite, we journeyed on to our last stop: Park East Orthodox Synagogue. We joined the congregants for a Jewish night service. The women and men were separate, with the women confined to a small box in the back right of the synagogue. The men participated in the service, while it did not seem mandatory for the women to do so. Thankfully, many of the Jewish women around us took us under their wing and explained to us the various parts of the service as they were happening. After the first part of the service, the community invited us downstairs for a communal meal, during which a young man gave a “Torah talk” about Abraham and Isaac. The most beautiful part of the whole service was the singing during the meal, particularly the singing of Psalm 23 in Hebrew.
We arrived home in Scranton content at having such an adventurous and delightful Saturday.