We didn’t get to spend as much time in town as I liked. We spent a bit more time at CMN this morning – it was pretty empty when we were there because Santorum was speaking to the crowd elsewhere. Folks eventually filtered in from his talk, and we wandered around a bit, ending up at the broadcast table of a local Catholic radio station. I also spoke to Thom Price of EWTN radio, but he was only broadcasting in the late afternoon, at which point we would be long gone.
So then it was off to do just a bit of downtown. We had been here, sans Katie, who was elsewhere, and sans MJ, who was just a glint in someone’s eye, a few years ago, on our way back from Atlantic City, where I’d spoken at the NCEA (worst, weirdest NCEA vibe ever – having it in a gambling mecca. Bingo jokes aside…it was very strange). I have a photo somewhere of little Jospeh leaning against the step preserved at the St. John Neumann Shrine, the step where the bishop fell and died, but I don’t think I have it online anywhere.
But none of that today. We just did a very brief Independence Hall jaunt – and not even inside – the tickets we could get were for 3, at which point we needed to be at the hotel, not in downtown Philly. So all we could do was see the Liberty Bell and walk around outside, mostly for Katie’s sake, so she could say that she’d seen it. There weren’t that many people there – when we were there 3 years ago, the line to see the Liberty Bell went down the block – this time there was no line at all.
I had weird feelings reading the display plaques in the Liberty Bell exhibit, mostly because the language spoke of sacrality and relics. It was odd. I felt the way that some probably feel looking at saints’ body parts. "It’s a bell,people. A bell."