One of the problems with doing a site like this--if you can call it a problem--is that I tend to be distracted by church architecture wherever I go.
Case in point: I just got back from a business trip to Minneapolis, where, on the way to a fancy networking party, I found myself waylaid by this beauty:
That's St. Mary's Basilica, the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The sign in front proclaims it to be the country's first basilica. Not sure how true that is, but damn, I have to give Minnesotans some props. This place is darn impressive.
I wouldn't hurry up and put Minneapolis up there in the pantheon of great cities of religious architecture, but this works very well in their favor. I couldn't help but compare it to our basilica, Philadelphia's own Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, and the comparison does not go very well for the latter.
The exterior certainly is more impressive, at least. Its stately granite far outpaces the Basilica's dull brownstone, and the dome and the sculpture work in and around the face are light-years ahead. For good measure, it even adds twin spires.
Inside, it's a much more open design than our basilica, with the side aisles minimized and the focus on the nave. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with the interior, but the brilliant stained glass and grandiose baldachin outpace the basilica easily. Also, crazy design feature note, the organ pipes are behind the altar, in the apse. Weird, but it works.
Beautiful all around, and if you ever have a chance to visit I recommend it highly. As for the Archdiocese, hey, don't worry buddy. Your basilica is still pretty in its own right. :)