In 2016, my mother and I headed to Washington, D.C., to see a trio of holy sites. I have heard about newer museums in the capital since then. One of the Oblate priests had good opinions about the Museum of the Bible. This year, my mother wanted to see this museum.
On June 16, 2018, my mother, her friend Thelma and I headed to the Museum of the Bible. Thelma had come with us to the Divine Mercy Shrine in 2016. We would revisit two of three holy sites from the 2016 trip because Thelma hadn’t been to them.
The drive down to Washington, D.C. went smoothly. Thelma and Mom chatted on various topics. I was concerned because the car wasn’t equipped with GPS and I was relying on printed instruction from Google Maps. My mother have always reminded me not to rely on her for directions. But the Google directions were easy for me to remember.
Our first revisit was the St. John Paul II National Shrine. I didn’t notice the giant statue of the saint outside the front door. We took some pictures.
Inside, I checked whether a Sister of Our Lady of Mercy, whom I met in Boston, was there. But Sister Inga was in Poland. We prayed a few minutes at both the Redemptor Hominis Chapel and the Luminous Mysteries Chapel. But time was running short so we skipped the museum exhibit.
Our next revisit was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A welcoming priest heard my confession and I did my daily meditation in the Crypt Church. The celebrating priest gave an inspiring homily on the Virgin Mary’s yes to the Will of God at the 12:10 p.m. Mass. Later, we headed to the Upper Church. I had wanted to see the Trinity Dome, the last mosaic installation that completed construction of the Basilica. It’s very beautiful, but the glare from the electric lights made it difficult to photograph the dome.
Next, we headed to the Museum of the Bible, which is south of the Mall. This is when I most worried about not using a GPS. I missed a few turns but I managed to a make a spiral toward the museum. Parking is cheap near the museum.
The museum opened toward the end of 2017. There were plenty of exhibits and videos. I would need multiple visits to see everything. My mother was tiring after a few hours. My favorite part is the view from the sixth floor of the Washington skyline. My qualm was a video on the history of the Bible. The narrator described how different Christian traditions have different books of the Bible. Traditions, yes. But no mention of a united Church with a general consensus on the canon of Scripture by the 400s A.D.? One has to watch out what one hears.
The drive back was long. The usual traffic around New York and Washington was expected. But we needed to drop Thelma at her house. I had thought that I could reach northern Queens from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge by taking the B.Q.E. (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). All Brooklyn drivers would be shaking their heads at me. Talk about being mired in traffic. My sister Liza said that it would’ve better to take the George Washington Bridge and the RFK Bridge to reach northern Queens.
A small digression: I know that cats are smart. But this incident blew my mind. At a red light in Queens, I saw an orange cat cross the street using the crosswalk and having the walk light. I know that I had a long weary day of driving. But I didn’t imagine this.
After dropping Thelma off, I had thought that I could reach a highway for home in a few minutes. Yes, I did reach the highway after being turned around and taking forever on local streets. Sixteen and a half hours after we started, my mother and I returned home. It was a fun trip. But I’ll be glad when my sister Liza will help with the driving on the next road trip.