One of our favourite places to visit is religious sites. We love shrines, churches, cathedrals and, in this case, St Patrick Basilica in Ottawa, Ontario. We were celebrating Family Day with Mom and decided that our weekend would be in the Ottawa region. Mom, too, loves churches.  

It is surprising just how often we go to a religious location only to find that it is locked up. This closure is a great disservice to the community. Churches should be open all the time. They are places of beauty, quiet reflection and contemplation. Even on their websites, churches indicate they are open, only to be turned away by a locked door. We are told to leave even when we ask people in the church office to go in. So, it is with held breath when I climb the steps and pull on the door. Will it be open? Will it be locked?

Happily and with great relief, the door opened. We entered the sanctuary and discovered a place built and maintained with pride and dedication. We walked the aisles slowly, admiring the stained glass and noted that the Stations of the Cross, something in all Catholic churches, were of extra beauty. These stations were beautifully painted and in 3D.  

We had the great fortune of speaking to the minister of this church. He had his dog with him and said it was rescued from Mexico. This dog is clearly a beloved pet and companion for the priest. He was also generous enough to give a small tour and even explain some of the various aspects of Catholicism.  

It was good seeing that people there sought quiet and connection with God. We sometimes struggle to keep our oos and ahhs to ourselves out of respect for those there to worship. Mom asked the priest what attendance was like for this church, and it was still impressive. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions have significantly reduced church-goers. He thought it was because attending church was out of habit, and many people simply lost the habit. It’s a shame, but I can relate since we only attend church to see the architecture and artistry that can be found inside.

Thank you to the congregation of St Patrick Basilica in Ottawa for allowing the doors to remain open most of the time. This is so greatly appreciated and needed.

  • There is a gift shop around the corner. We did not visit it since it was closed when we arrived.
  • Doors are open most of the day, but if there is a funeral, wedding or service, the doors may be locked.
  • This was one of several stops we did on Family Day Weekend. Check out the map and itinerary.
  • Also, check my Featured Map. This map shows most of the places we have been. You may be impressed by just how much there is to see.


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