|Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Playa del Carmen|
Nestled in the middle of Playa del Carmen's first (and least reputable) slum, its off-white steeple with stain-glassed windows rises above half-built concrete homes with fiberglass roofs, haphazard stores, taco carts and greasy little restaurants where thick smoke pours out of the chimneys from the chicken roasters.
The building itself is beautiful. This is not because of the contrast to the slum around it; in fact, it would probably be more beautiful standing by itself or in a large spacious yard so you could actually see the whole thing. But the surrounding neighbourhood is part of the church, as the church is part of it. Many of the people who worship there live in these homes and the parish offers (to all who seek it) care, education, teaching in the Faith, blessings and the Sacraments of the Church. The old Irish priest who started the parish about 20 years ago is respected and called "Father" by everyone I know of. My point is; the parish and the community are inseparable.
Likewise, the building and the beautiful things which have happened there are closely bound to each other.
I think the building would be described as a neo-mission style. (Excuse the out-of-focus images; I'm getting used to using a completely manual lense.)
|Christ as a Child with St. Joseph (the patron of our family.)|
|St. Juan Diego, the native Mexican to whom the Virgin Mary appeared.|
|The steeple, looking south.|
|St. Juan Diego, showing the roses to the doubters. (Below the steeple, south)|
|Archangel Michael (north side, next to the sanctuary)|
This is newest stained glass image, installed this summer, entitled, "Who is like God?" The words of the Archangel Michael as he casts Satan from Heaven, who had claimed to be like God. (The anguished face of Satan is hidden behind the woman singing in the choir. But you can see his wings.)
|East end, opposite the sanctuary|
The lower row of windows throughout the nave of the church still do not have glass; however, the upper row of 12 windows (6 on each side) offers some of the titles of the Virgin Mary. My favourite is this one:
|"Refuge of Sinners"|
|One of the Stations of the Cross|
|One of the confessionals (There's one on each side, near the back entrance. Confession is heard during Mass.)|
|A view from the main entrance, looking towards the sanctuary.|
|The main entrance.|
|Side entrance (north side)|
|West end of the building.|
Another image of the face of the Virgin of Guadalupe can be seen above the windows of the church offices. The blue tarp is the area where people eat breakfast after Mass. (It's redundant and pointless to call it "socializing" or "fellowship;" for Mexicans every time you eat it's socializing and fellowship!)
This area is actually the plaza which serves primarily as the patio for the parish school, of which I didn't take pictures. The school will need a post in itself.