When Phoenix ’s citizens built their first Catholic church in 1881, I suspect only the most devout could have imagined a papal visit some 100 years later. That original structure, constructed from hand-formed adobe, was replaced in 1902 by St. Mary’s Basilica (231 N. 3rd St., 602/354-2100, www.stmarysbasilica.org , 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–6 a.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., free), a Spanish Colonial Revival church that still holds mass every day.
Pope John Paul II named St. Mary’s a minor basilica in 1985, and two years later he visited the church on a trip to Phoenix.
The basilica’s collection of stained glass windows is the largest in the state, and its bright interior is worth a quick stop.