I know it’s not fair, but I found myself comparing the Cathedral in Portland to the churches and cathedrals and the basilica I saw in Rome. Today I went to mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 1716 NW Davis St. Portland, Oregon 97209 with my parents. I couldn’t help comparing it to what I saw in Rome. What was once a beautiful place (and still is to those who aren’t critical like me) is now a bit like a Roman Cathedral wanna-be. The round tubular marble columns that I was used to seeing at St. Peter’s Basilica or St. John Lateran, or any of the many other churches we saw, were not there, the columns were square. Still fully functional, but sadly something that stood out to me as “just not the same.” The paintings that had been so beautiful, felt like copies of other paintings that I might have taken pictures of over in Rome. The statues were just not the same. Newer– definitely. And, although I felt how small the once large Cathedral was, I looked around me at the people. The people are what make the church, literally and figuratively. The people who went to mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome are the same people who were at the Cathedral in Portland. Metaphorically, speaking that is. They all have the need to feel loved, accepted, forgiven, and part of an important place in the world. Portland’s Cathedral, although small and a wanna-be, is still loved and appreciated by the people who go worship there. St. Peter’s Basilica is large and an important place in the history of the church and the world, but it is also loved and appreciated by the people who go worship and tour there. There are many differences between the two places, just ask anyone who goes to St. Mary’s after visiting St. Peter’s. However, once I began seeing the similarities, I began to be able to appreciate our little, newer church again. People. Well, people and the flower motifs that attach to the ceiling.