Churches

Kathryn and I end up visiting a lot of churches when we travel. Since we often travel on weekends, we typically find a church where we can fulfill our Sunday obligation. Here’s a list of some of the churches and chapels we’ve visited for Mass or for other liturgies or devotions. I’m intentionally excluding churches we’ve visited merely as tourists.

United States

Arizona

  • Phoenix: St. Joan of Arc. I mention this one first because this is where Kathryn and I attend Mass most Sundays when we’re in Phoenix. This church also has good confession times before the weekday Mass, so we come here for confession and Mass during the week occasionally.
  • Phoenix: St. Mary’s Basilica. This one gets a special mention because Kathryn and I were married here in 2008, and I received Confirmation here earlier that same year. This Spanish mission style church is located in the heart of downtown. A community of Franciscan friars lives next door.
  • Phoenix: St. Paul. The closest church to our home, but we seldom go here for Sunday Mass because of the dreadful music. I come here sometimes for confession on Saturday afternoons.
  • Phoenix: St. Theresa. This is the closest church to where I currently work, so I sometimes come here during the week for the 6:30 am Mass.
  • Phoenix: Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. This is the cathedral of our home diocese. We’ve been here for Christmas Mass a couple times and once for the Chrism Mass during Holy Week.
  • Phoenix: St. Thomas the Apostle. We’ve occasionally come here for Mass and once for Stations of the Cross. The pastor sometimes leads Mass in Latin (Novus Ordo).
  • Phoenix: St. Francis Xavier. A beautiful church in central Phoenix. Staffed by Jesuit priests. We attended Sunday Mass here once.
  • Phoenix: St. Bernadette. Newish parish in northeast Phoenix. One of those communities that decided to build a meeting hall first and use it as a church while saving money to build a real church. I don’t understand that. Nice people, though. We’ve attended Mass here a few times when in the neighborhood.
  • Phoenix: Our Lady of the Valley. We attended Sunday Mass once at this northwest Phoenix church.
  • Phoenix: St. Joseph’s Hospital Chapel. We’ve attended Mass during the week here on several occasions. Unfortunately, the hospital has since decided it’s no longer going to be Catholic. The chapel still exists, but it’s rarely used for Mass.
  • Phoenix: St. Luke. We’ve been to this church in north Phoenix, not far from our home, for Sunday Mass on one occasion. That was enough.
  • Cave Creek: St. Gabriel the Archangel. Basically what I said about St. Bernadette, just further north. Attended one Sunday Mass.
  • Scottsdale: Our Lady of the Angels. The conventual church of the Franciscan Renewal Center, also known simply as the Casa. We arrived one Sunday for Mass. When the guitars and the tambourines came out, we left to find another church.
  • Scottsdale: Blessed Sacrament. We attended a First Communion and Confirmation for the daughter of a friend at this largish church.
  • Mesa: St. Bridget. We attended the funeral of one of Kathryn’s former bosses here.
  • Tucson: Mission San Xavier del Bac. We had the good fortune of timing our visit to this historic White Dove of the Desert mission to coincide with a Mass to honor the birthday of its founder, Fr. Eusebio Kino.
  • Tucson: St. Augustine Cathedral. We attended the cathedral of the Diocese of Tucson during a weekend visit to the area in 2011. Located in the heart of downtown.
  • Winslow: St. Joseph. Not far from the famous Corner. We attended a Sunday Mass here in 2008 while staying overnight at La Posada.
  • Flagstaff: St. Pius X. We attended Sunday Mass here once several years ago while we were enjoying a weekend getaway.
  • Yuma: St. Francis. We happened to be passing through Yuma on a Holy Day of Obligation and decided to attend Mass here. Please don’t ask my opinion on the sight of altar girls wearing cassocks and surplices.

California

  • Rancho Santa Fe: Church of the Nativity. We attended Sunday Mass here once while visiting family nearby. At 37 minutes, it has the distinction of being the shortest Sunday Mass I’ve ever attended.
  • San Diego: Immaculate Conception. We attended a Sunday Mass here in 2009 while visiting family. A beautiful mission style church in the old town of San Diego.
  • San Diego: St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. We attended an early morning Sunday Mass here in 2010 while visiting family. We watched the celebrating priest nearly die on the altar. With the help of a couple altar servers, I managed to talk him out of continuing while we waited for paramedics.
  • Los Angeles: St. Francis of Assisi. In 2009, we witnessed the profession of Solemn Vows of several new Franciscan friars here, including one who had been working at our church in Phoenix.
  • Los Angeles: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. In 2009, we attended Sunday Mass here after witnessing the Solemn Vows at St. Francis the previous day. Kathryn and I were among several couples who presented the gifts to Cardinal Mahony.

Connecticut

  • Madison: St. Margaret. We attended Sunday Mass here in 2009 after visiting friends in nearby Clinton.

Florida

  • Vero Beach: Holy Cross. We attended Sunday Mass here in 2012 while spending a weekend with Kathryn’s aunt. The liturgy was beyond awful.

Hawaii

  • Koloa: St. Raphael. We attended a Wedding Mass in the historic old church here in July 2012, then came back the following morning for Sunday Mass in the larger but less interesting new church. The priest is unusually enthusiastic about blessing people.

Massachusetts

  • Salisbury: Star of the Sea. I received my First Communion here, and my parents were married here. Kathryn and I last visited in 2009, and the priest who was here during my childhood was still pastor. We were still newlyweds, and he blessed our marriage. He has since passed away, and the parish has been merged into Holy Family in nearby Amesbury.
  • Newburyport: Immaculate Conception. I was baptized here. We last visited in 2009 for adoration.
  • Newburyport: St. Louis de Gonzague (closed). This French-Canadian ethnic parish church goes back many generations on my father’s side of the family. I’ve been to several funeral Masses here. In 2009, I walked past the place where it used to be.
  • Rowley: St. Mary. Where Kathryn received First Communion and Confirmation. We walked by in 2009, but the church was locked. Still open, but merged with St. Mary in Georgetown.

Nevada

  • Las Vegas: St. Bridget. Our new favorite church in Las Vegas. The 9:30 am Sunday Mass is in Latin (Novus Ordo) with Gregorian chant, except the Liturgy of the Word, which is in English. The church provides missals in Latin and English, as well as a cheatsheet for us noobs. We were last here in 2011. Located less than a mile from downtown.
  • Las Vegas: Guardian Angel Cathedral. Where we’ve most often attended Sunday Mass during our weekend trips to Las Vegas. It’s located directly on the Strip, just north of Encore. Always packed for every weekend Mass.
  • Las Vegas: Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer. Another conveniently located church for people staying on the Strip. This one is at the south end of the Strip, near Mandalay Bay and the airport. A little too mega-church for our tastes.
  • North Las Vegas: St. John Neumann. Visited once for Sunday Mass in 2009. Another parish that built a multi-purpose room instead of a church.

New Hampshire

  • Salem: St. Joseph. We attended Sunday Mass here one morning in 2010 while we were visiting family in town.

New Mexico

  • Santa Fe: Cathedral-Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. We attended a Sunday Mass here on the weekend of our first anniversary in 2009, during the church’s 400-year jubilee celebration. A plenary indulgence was being offered because of the jubilee, so we also had our confessions heard.

New York

  • New York: St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We attended a Sunday Mass in this grand Manhattan cathedral on Memorial Day weekend in 2008. Cardinal Egan gave a memorable homily about Pierre Toussaint. The Sunday crowd was overwhelming, so we came back the next day for Mass and a more serene tour.

Oregon

  • Portland: Holy Rosary. I visited this church a couple times for Mass, including Sunday, when I was in town for a conference at the nearby convention center. Staffed by Dominicans. Old-school communion, kneeling at the rail.

Pennsylvania

  • Bethlehem: Ss. Simon and Jude. We went here for Sunday Mass when we were in town for a wedding in 2011. The only time I’ve ever gone to Mass and not had the priest show up.

Virginia

  • Richmond: Sacred Heart Cathedral. Despite living in Richmond for three years, I visited this church for the first time in 2011 while in town for the weekend. Kathryn and I attended Sunday Mass, then stuck around for a while to take pictures.
  • Williamsburg: St. Bede. When I was a student at William & Mary, this was the closest Catholic church to the campus, near the historic center of the city. I attended one Sunday Mass here, in 1991, I think. The church is still there, and I think it’s still used sometimes.

Washington

  • Seattle: St. James Cathedral. We attended Sunday Mass at the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Seattle while we were visiting friends who live nearby. Great liturgical music, even on a Saturday afternoon.

Elsewhere

France

  • Paris: Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. This church gets a special mention because Kathryn spent some time in prayer here. I watched an otherwise grouchy docent transform when I told him Kathryn wanted to pray. He smiled and graciously led her to a section of pews they keep away from the tourists.

Italy and Vatican City

  • Vatican City: St. Peter’s Basilica. The grandest of the four major basilicas. Attended Mass here on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter in 2011. Also had our confessions heard by the Conventual Franciscan priests here.
  • Rome: Santa Maria della Grazie alle Fornaci. The guest house where we stayed in 2011 was attached to this church, so we attended Sunday Mass here.
  • Rome: Basilica of St. John Lateran. The cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and one of the major basilicas. We attended Mass here in 2011.
  • Rome: Basilica of St. Mary Major. The oldest of the major basilicas of Rome. We attended Mass here in 2011.
  • Rome: Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. We attended Solemn Vespers here one evening during our visit to Rome in 2011.
  • Rome: Trinità dei Monti. This French church is located at the top of the Spanish Steps. During our 2011 visit, we happened upon it as Mass was beginning, so we stayed.

Mexico

  • Puerto Vallarta: Our Lady of Guadalupe. A beautiful parish church in the historic center of Puerto Vallarta, often mistakenly identified as a cathedral. We attended the bilingual Sunday Mass here during our vacation in 2011.