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A Wing And a Prayer

By John Deiner
Sunday, November 23, 1997; Page E04


The holiday season is upon us, which means that millions of homeward-bound travelers are about to invade airports like fire ants on a Thanksgiving turkey. If you want to escape from that sea of humanity, your prayers may be answered.

About 25 U.S. airports offer chapels where weary holiday voyagers can find sanctuary for a little quality time with the Big Guy or some simple peace and quiet.

That's not to suggest that you'll be alone -- the chapel at Chicago O'Hare attracted 250,000 souls in 1996. And in some cases, you could share your sanctuary with a bride and groom: At Denver International, you can get hitched in the airport chapel -- just a hop from the Burger King and Domino's -- if you call ahead and offer a small contribution.

The chapels vary widely in size and design, although because most are interfaith, religious symbols are generally abstract or all-inclusive. And while some are quite intimate, others make a grander impression: O'Hare's features 85 comfortable armchairs and walls adorned with etched glass; in Boston, Logan International's can seat 250.

Some of the chapels are tricky to find, but have faith, they're there. They include:

* John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York: Our Lady of the Skies is on the second floor of International Air Terminal 4, near the flight arrivals board. Catholic, Jewish and Protestant services are held on a regular basis, and the Islamic community also uses the facility. Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Information: 718-656-5348.

* Logan International Airport, Boston: Our Lady of the Airways is located on the lower level between terminals B and C, close to the United baggage claim area. Catholic Masses are offered at Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday morning at 7:30, 9, 10:30 and noon. Open 24 hours. Information: 617-567-2800.

* O'Hare International Airport, Chicago: The chapel is on the mezzanine level of Terminal 2, above the TWA ticket counter. Catholic, Protestant and Islamic services are offered; for a schedule and further information, call 773-686-2636. Open 24 hours.

* George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston: The chapel is in Terminal C near Gate C-30. It's available for any religious ceremony, though no regular services are offered. Open 24 hours. Information: 281-230-3115.

* Denver International Airport: The DIA Interfaith Chapel is on the south end of the mezzanine level in the Jeppesen Terminal. It's the only chapel in a U.S. airport that has a dedicated Islamic masjid, or prayer hall. Catholic Mass is the only regular service offered, on Sundays and holy days at noon. Open 7 a.m. to midnight. Information: 303-320-2159.

Wondering if your airport has a chapel? Check out http://www, an excellent guide to many airports worldwide.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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