Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seeing the sights

     One of the great opportunities of the NPM Convention is to see the host city in a variety of ways.  Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, filled with diversity, history and culture.  The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is in the heart of downtown, along the Allegheny River.  It, along with the adjoining Westin Convention Center Hotel, served as the primary venue locations.  Other events were scheduled at St. Mary of Mercy in the heart of the city (used for daily Mass), Epiphany Catholic Church in uptown (for concerts and workshops), the First English Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (both in the heart of the city), and St. Paul Cathedral in the Oakland section (over 100 years old, newly restored and housing a famous 1962 Beckerath organ) - all great churches with great organs.  Another option on Monday morning was a tour and visit of four historic houses of worship in the city: Heinz Memorial Chapel on the University of Pittsburgh built in 1933; Rodef Shalom Temple in Oakland, built in 1901 and having the largest 1907 Kimball organ still in use; the Gothic East Liberty Presbyterian Church which occupies a city block and has one of the largest Aeolian-Skinner organs in the world; and Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church in the Strip District built by Polish immigrants in 1891 ( my classmate, Father Harry Nichols, serves as pastor).

    The other optional excursion was a Tuesday evening Gateway Clipper Riverboat Dinner Cruise.  After a rainstorm in the early afternoon, the Majestic paddle wheeler picked us up at the dock at the Convention Center and took us on a two and a half hour cruise of the three rivers of Pittsburgh, with a delicious buffet dinner and a chance to see the sights, including the sell out crowd at PNC Park for the Pirate baseball game.  It was great meeting new people and listening to the comments regarding the beauty of Pittsburgh.

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