The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville was one of our stops on our trip to Northeast Iowa. Almost all of the towns in that area, no matter how small, seem to have huge Catholic churches, almost as if they had a competition to see who could build the most impressive church.
The Basilica was built in 1889 and can seat about 1,200. The steeples stand 212 feet tall. The doors are more than twice my height, very heavy, and sturdy. I was shocked by the ornateness when I entered the church.
This is something one would expect to see in Europe, not Iowa!
There are 64 stained glass windows in the church. The one above is over the organ.
Above is another of the stained glass windows and a portion of the ceiling.
The architecture of the Basilica is magnificent, but it's not where I would picture Jesus who said "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath no place to lay his head" spending his time.
- I think God feels more at home with the farmer in the planter who prays while he's working, with the lady who sings while she's making dinner in a little cottage, out in the welding shop with Papa when he asks for the Lord's wisdom in doing a job, or in any of your living rooms when you kneel in prayer at the end of the day or read the Bible together.
St. Francis Xavier worked as a missionary to Asia in the 1500s. In India he evangelized the poor, lived with the poor, slept like the poor, and ate with the poor. His favorite prayer was "Give me souls!" "In this life," he said, "we find our greatest comfort living in the midst of danger, that is, if we confront them solely for the love of God."