Day trip: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

When my mother had mentioned the idea of visiting Lancaster County a few weeks ago, I had thought we would visit the Amish, ride a buggy and eat Amish-crafted pies.  But that wasn’t what my mother wanted.

My mother’s number one priority for taking a road trip was to see a religious shrine or site.  I looked online for potential places to visit.  On Aug. 31, 2017, my mother and I drove to Pennsylvania early in the morning.

st mary
St. Mary’s in downtown Lancaster, Pa., is the fourth oldest Catholic church in the original 13 colonies.

The first place we visited was St. Mary’s in downtown Lancaster.  The fourth oldest Catholic church in the original 13 colonies was dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In the past decade, it received the honor of sharing a spiritual bond with St. Mary Major in Rome.

The artwork was impressive inside with the stained glass and altar settings.  I meditated and prayed in the big quiet space before the noon Mass.

st mary altar
I can spend hours meditating on the intricate artwork around the altar at St. Mary’s in Lancaster, Pa. Quiz: Can you find the four symbols for the four Gospels?

Afterward, we checked out the Tanger Outlets mall.  My mother bought a small hand mixer and food processor.  I was hoping to replace my belt.  But we arrived the day before the grand opening of the mall and most of the big-name clothing stores were still closed.  We picked up a belt at Kohl’s nearby.

sight sound
Sight and Sound theater is in Ronks, Pa., outside Lancaster.

Next was Sight and Sound, a theater company dedicated to state-of-the-art Bible story productions.  This summer, the Lancaster site was offering “Jonah.”  My favorite Bible story on stage?  Jonah, whose story became the key to explaining parts of my life?  That Jonah?  Two tickets, please.

It was a beautiful portrayal of the reluctant prophet finding God’s mercy in an unexpected place.  My mother told me afterward that she enjoyed the show and asked that I checked for productions before my vacation next year.

Before the three-hour drive to New York, we grabbed a bite to eat at Chick-fil-A.  OK, so it wasn’t Amish crafted pie.  What better way to end a simple trip with a simple chicken sandwich.   Spending these moments with my mom is worth more than the setting.

P.S. The only Amish thing I saw was the buggies on the roads.  A few of them had red vehicle lights.

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