“NO MORE CHURCHES!” My husband Dave expressed his opinion fairly strongly. After we took a tour of Evora, Portugal I had to promise my husband Dave we wouldn’t visit any more churches. He is so tired of them. I am getting tired of them too.
I felt sick after we visited the church of St. Francis which had just undergone a MASSIVE renovation that must have cost tens of millions of dollars.
Everything is gilded with gold and made of marble. Artists, engineers, historians and religious experts from all over the world were brought to Evora to help with the restoration. The church is a UNESCO heritage site and as such perhaps needs to be preserved, but I kept thinking about how the money used for the restoration might have been used to help struggling folks in Portugal and other places around the world. And what would St. Francis say? He turned his back on his family’s fortune to pursue a life of poverty and service. He is probably rolling in his grave at the extravagence displayed in the church named after him.
I grew up in a town called Steinbach that has almost thirty churches. Evora has thirty churches too. But here’s the thing…… hardly anyone attends the Evora churches anymore.
To deal with this dilemma the 30 churches in Evora have come up with a very common sense solution. Maria told us they each hold mass one day of the month. Church goers know the schedule and go to whatever church happens to be celebrating mass that day. Since most churches are close together in the city’s heart this works well.
The churches also share an organist. A young man adept at playing heritage musical instruments moves from church to church as well.
Our tour guide told us people don’t even have weddings in churches anymore. It is cheaper and more convenient to get married elsewhere. Most of the churches in Portugal are really more like museums and serve as tourist attractions and sources of income rather than houses of worship. Almost every church in Evora charges an admission price to enter.
At any rate we won’t be seeing any more of them. I have made a promise to my husband.