Saturday, September 22, 2012
Get Thee To the Church: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Fairbanks, Alaska
It's the northernmost cathedral in the United States. We had passed it several time as we tootled around Fairbanks in our rented monster SUV. On the day of our departure, a Saturday, we found ourselves at Pioneer Park, which happens to be right across the street from Sacred Heart Cathedral. Our flight didn't leave until 9 pm, so we had plenty of time to go to the Saturday Vigil Mass, have dinner, and get to the airport.
I wasn't sure what to expect to see inside the cathedral given how ordinary-looking it seems from the outside (Did you know the Diocese of Fairbanks is the largest in the U.S. in geographical area? And it's the only mission diocese in the nation, and one of the poorest?). I even wondered if the building might have housed a church of some other denomination and the diocese had purchased it, but that is not the case; it has always served as the cathedral for the Fairbanks Diocese.
Inside it was simple, elegant, holy, and undeniably Catholic.
We arrived about a half hour early (the boys were eager to leave the touristy Pioneer Park; they were bored out of their minds. I wanted to stay a little longer and check out the Indian Village section of the park but was met with resistance) and I snapped a few photos before Mass. I didn't get very many; there were already a number of people there quietly praying, and I got several strange looks as I walked around with my camera.
After a lovely Mass we headed to The Cookie Jar for our last meal in Alaska; then to the airport for the long flight home. Next summer I expect we'll vacation someplace a little bit closer, like the beach.
Happy Sunday, and Happy Fall! Now get thee to church!
(If you want to see the church where we attended Mass on our first morning in Alaska, click here. And for some highlights from our amazing Alaska vacation, go here. Thanks for visiting!)