A while ago (at least 4 years?) I made my one big bucket list goal: see all the Catholic cathedrals in the United States. At one point I counted how many there are but I’ve since forgotten the number…and I don’t want to know just yet. Instead, I’ll just keep going in my quest to see them all.
This summer I’ve managed to cross FOUR more of them off my list, two of them in this past weekend. In July we saw the cathedral in Dodge City, Kansas, and now we live near the cathedral in Boise, Idaho, so those were fairly easy. Anthony went on a retreat this past weekend so I decided to take a little road trip with Ms. Monkey before little Ms. Mistletoe comes along, and we managed to hit up two more cathedrals (and made it to Mass at both of them!). We drove to Portland on Friday, went to Mass there Saturday morning, and then drove to Yakima, WA and went to Mass there on Sunday. Both had their own unique features, but I enjoyed seeing the cathedral in Portland more. Hands down, though, Seattle’s St. James Cathedral is still my favorite of all the ones I’ve seen.
First up was the St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland. It was raining and we made it just in time for Mass, so I didn’t get any pictures of the outside of the church, but the inside was gorgeous.
This one in particular caught my eye as I made my way up for communion: the cross, a priest offering the Eucharist, and Mary, holding Jesus’ crucified body beneath the priest. I could have stared at it for hours.
The next day we made our way to Yakima, WA. As Monkey and I walked up to the cathedral, I couldn’t help but think about how incredible it is to open those doors for the first time. Each cathedral I visit is a new experience. I stand on the outside, taking in the church in all of its grandeur and then I get to open the doors, to venture inside and see what beauty is within. In many ways it is like meeting new people: admiring them, noticing them, and then being able to talk to them, to get to know them in a more profound way. In other ways it is like beholding the heart of God: we know it, we can read about Him, about His love, but then He invites us to open the door (through Jesus’ pierced heart on the cross) and enter in. It is beautiful and profound and a new experience each and every time.
The doors. I stood outside for much longer than a ‘normal’ person would as I took in the door and the experience of being able to go inside, to be where Jesus is, to receive Him in the Eucharist…it was glorious.
One weekend, two cathedrals, and tons of fun.
Just for kicks and giggles, here are the cathedrals I’ve been to so far – have you been to any of them? Which are your favorites? I told Anthony that Portland definitely makes it into my top 5!
(In no particular order – and I’m only putting the names of the ones I can remember!)
Seattle, WA (St. James)
Yakima , WA(St. Paul)
Portland, OR (St. Mary)
Boise, ID (St. John)
Los Angeles, CA
Santa Fe, NM
Colorado Springs, CO
Denver, CO (Immaculate Conception)
Cheyenne, WY (St. Mary’s)
Rapid City, SD
Washington DC (National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Basilica)
New Orleans, LA
Detroit, MI (though it is always closed when I try to visit!)
So adding four to the list for the summer makes it a pretty impressive summer! 🙂