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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mont St. Michel: Magnificence on a Mudflat

by Rick Steves

I love to scamper, at low tide, shoes in my hands, far from shore, across the mudflat in the vast Bay of Mont St. Michel. Splashing across black sand and through little puddles, I head for a dramatic abbey reaching to heaven from a rock surrounded by a vast and muddy solitude.

For more than a thousand years, the distant silhouette of this island abbey sent pilgrims' spirits soaring. Today, it does the same for tourists. Mont St. Michel, among the top four pilgrimage sites in Christendom through the ages, floats like a mirage on the horizon — though it does show up on film. Today, 3.5 million visitors — far more tourists than pilgrims — flood the single street of the tiny island each year.

Since the sixth century, hermit monks in search of solitude lived here. Location, location, location. The word "hermit" comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "desert." The next best thing to a desert in this part of Europe was the sea.

Imagine the "desert" this bay provided as the first monk climbed the rock to get close to God. Mix in the mythic tide, which sends the surf speeding eight miles in and out with each tide cycle...

Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.