Cathedral of Christ the Light
on November 23, 2015
A man sits alone in one of the last pews at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. The man, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, stares at the altar where at the center, a grand full body image of Jesus, which looks like a projection, overlooks the inside of the cathedral. The place is empty, but not completely silent. There is a soft, sustained ringing sound, but a man and two women silence it when they rush in. They immediately take out their cell phones and begin looking at the cathedral through their screens and take turns taking pictures of each other. Once they seem satisfied with the shots, they leave.
“Did you watch ‘Empire’ last night? Oh, it was so good,” a woman says to her friend after they splash their hands in the pool of holy water at the entrance. The man in the sweatshirt remains seated, staring at the altar, and does not pay attention to the people who come in and out. Occasionally men wearing black suits walk around the pews. Some stand still and are approached by people asking for directions.
Throughout it all, the man in the blue hood remains still, undisturbed. After some time, he stands up and joins a short line of men leaning against the wall. They seem to be waiting for nothing. Their demeanor is the same as that of people waiting their turn at the Department of Motor Vehicles. A man taps his foot at different speeds, while another has a book titled “The Darkest Day” opened to cover his cell phone. He glides his finger across the phone screen. More people arrive and stand behind the last person in line.
A gray-haired priest dressed in black and carrying a white garment enters the cathedral, bows, and speeds walks toward the altar. He walks up a small ramp and disappears behind the wooden panels that surround the cathedral. A few moments later, he appears again, now wearing the white garment and with a lilac stole hanging around his neck. The priest walks past the growing line of people leaning against the cement wall and the first man in line follows him past a glass door. The remaining people scoot forward a few steps toward the door. A man holds onto his rosary beads and the rest wait with blank stares in their eyes as, one by one, they are called to confession.
Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: email@example.com.