When we think of Las Vegas, we almost exclusively think about gambling, alcohol, drugs, large casinos, huge amounts of money, and flashing signs everywhere. To be fair, that is the most significant thing that Las Vegas has to offer to the world. No one could have predicted that such an unappealing location in the desert would lure and tempt people from all corners of the planet to visit, stay and spend some money there. There are casinos and other pieces of architecture that are synonymous with Las Vegas, but one of the most remarkable buildings is not related to gambling at all –the Guardian Angel Cathedral.
About the cathedral
Since 1995, and the creation of the Diocese of Las Vegas, the Guardian Angel Cathedral has been the seat of the bishop. Nevada is one of the last states to acquire its own diocese, and until 1995, it was a part of the Diocese of Reno, which was established in 1931, as one of the largest ones in the United States. Over time, the name of this diocese was changed to the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas, until Nevada got its own, and the Guardian Angel Cathedral became the seat of the bishop of Las Vegas. This was made possible by the tremendous growth in the number of people who visited the church in Las Vegas. From the start, the diocese developed with the help and advice from clergy members, as well as believers outside the church.
It is argued that precisely this way of development allowed the Diocese of Las Vegas to attract such a great number of followers, even in the time when the reputation of the Church is attacked by the media.
About the building
One of the most striking things about this cathedral is certainly its appearance and architecture. Usually, when we think about churches and cathedrals, we have a somewhat distinct image in our mind, and this building may not be the first thing that comes to mind, especially to European tourists in Nevada. However, it might be argued that this architectural style was the key element that provided the cathedral with authentic American expression, and attracted such a number of people to it. People can sometimes be intimidated by large towering cathedrals or too intricate artwork; sometimes, a simply designed, honest appearance does the trick. This work of the architect Paul R. Williams combines the tradition of the Church with the original and modern American image; by doing this, this place of worship was rejuvenated, and its place in the contemporary world secured. The interior is decorated by the famous Los Angeles artists of Hungarian origin, Isabel and Edith Piczek, including the stained glass windows of the church.
This cathedral is definitely something that tourists, both American and international, need to keep in mind when paying Nevada a visit. Modern works of art and the millennia-old traditions of the Catholic Church here joined to make a truly breathtaking building and institution that is one of the defining landmarks of the United States.