The River Flows

Unless we tend constantly towards Easter, towards the horizon of the Resurrection, the mentality expressed in the slogan “I want it all and I want it now!” gains the upper hand.

(from Pope Francis’ Message for Lent)

…I’m sitting and watching the Cumberland River flow by. Next to the ruins of a bridge that 17,000 Cherokee had to cross in 1838, on the Trail of Tears.

Not quite sure why His Holiness needed to pick on Queen (the band) in his Lent message. But the Holy Father makes an excellent point nonetheless.

Mt LeConte
Your unworthy servant across from Mount LeConte in the Great Smokies

Came out to Tennessee to see some mountains and run a race. A year ago they dedicated a brand-new Sacred Heart cathedral in Knoxville.

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Knoxville cathedral nave.jpg

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The front portico reminds you of our cathedral in Richmond.

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The baldachin reminds you of San Clemente in Rome, or St. Lawrence Outside the Walls.

Knoxville cathedral baldachino.jpg

Knoxville cathedral sanctuary.jpg

They stenciled invocations from the Litany of the Sacred Heart into the interior frieze.

Knoxville cathedral Litany invocation.jpg

They have a stole that Pope St. John Paul II wore.

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JP II Dziwisz plaque Knoxville.jpg

(I did not photograph the statue of St. JP II, because it does not look good.)

…I visited Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage…

They are in the middle of renovating the Nashville cathedral.

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…Tennessee became a state in 1796. To celebrate the Centennial, they constructed a wood-and-plaster replica of the Parthenon in Athens, among other ersatz classical buildings. After the Centennial Exhibition ended, they decided to build a more-permanent replica of the Parthenon.

That building houses one of the most-charming collections of paintings I have ever encountered, given to the city of Nashville in 1927 by insurance-executive James Cowan.

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