Several devotional places can be found in the ambulatory, the open corridor bordering the nave and transepts.
There are two side chapels, or shrines, defined by hand-forged iron grills. These chapels provide a place for private prayer and reflection.
The Chapel of St. Joseph, Protector of the Holy Family is off the east ambulatory. The elegant, hand-carved wood statue of Joseph holding the House of Nazareth (with the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus inside) is carved in the French Gothic style.
The Chapel of Mary, Seat of Wisdom is off the west ambulatory. She is depicted holding the Christ child. Each chapel contains two gothic votive candle trees. Votive candles, also referred to as vigil lights, are used by the faithful as a prayer offering. The word “votive” is derived from the Latin word “votum,” which means “vow.”
The fourteen marble and gold-leaf mosaic Stations of the Cross adorning the walls of the ambulatory hold special significance for the people of Our Lady of the Assumption. Since the 1950’s, parishioners used these same stations to pray the “way of the cross.”
In the early years of the Church, the faithful began to follow the footsteps that Christ walked from Pilate’s house in Jerusalem to Calvary. This devotion began on the streets of the Holy Land, but 14th century pilgrims carried the practice home with them and it spread throughout the world.
The first station is located near the reconciliation room. They continue around the perimeter of the church. The final station, the fourteenth, is near the ambry.