The clue is in the fake cupola that has been snapped onto the commodious vinyl roof like a LEGO. It mimics a bell tower; it is topped with a spire that soars into the heavens to commune with the Lord. Yes, this roof-dominant building, with its plastic molding machine-stamped with symmetrical decorations and its hollow columns laboriously forged of urethane foam, is a church–rife with spirit, crafted with fervor.
The sacred ground on which this chantry stands has housed the relics of the blessed Virgin for over twelve thousand years. Its builders were therefore commanded to retain and protect its sacred crypt, and to orient its high altar and chapels above the hallowed realm.
Make a motorized pilgrimage to this sacred minster in Prescott, Arizona. Behold its refinement with your own eyes. Absent is the soul deep-seated within the great cathedrals of Europe; wanting is the ornate beauty inherent in the tiles of the sacred mosques of the Near East. There is no burst of light emanating from panes of stained glass that were forged by artisans who poured their souls into their craft. There is no quiet calm steeped into the chapels or the pillars or the pews. There is no scent of candles or incense; no perfume of stone or earth or must or dank, cool, undulating air; no fragrance of anything alive in this church. But there is the ambrosial stench of plastic, vinyl, and carpet chemicals–a fetor that plagues your nostrils, aggrieves your lungs, strips your eyes of moisture, and so bereaves your spirit that you feel a hollowing nausea in your gut and a wound in that part of your soul that craves nourishment from beautiful spaces.
So visit this numinous tabernacle. Climb the creaky wooden steps to the bell tower. Stand among the great sculptures and buttresses; drink in with a ravenous thirst the splendorous view of the car dealership across the street. Bring your soul to its knees with a reverence for the marble pillars, the immense vaults, and the brilliant murals that evince the boundless human capacity for creating moving works of art. Prostrate your senses and pray at the foot of the gods to the great Almighty, for the sacred spirit of the Master Masons of America is alive in this church.