San Xavier Mission Church in Tucson, AZ is the oldest Catholic Church in the country that is still in use actively.
The church and its buildings are virtually all white which gives it a nickname of "white dove in the desert" or San Xavier del Bac. The church has recently gone through a restoration by the same gentleman who worked on the restoration of the Sistine Chapel.
Located within the San Xavier Indian Reservation mission area, this church was founded in 1692 but was not completed until over a hundred years later. The Tohono O'odham Indians in the area helped build the church made of limestone, bricks and stone using a variety of distinct styles like those of the Mexican Renaissance as well as Byzantine. The exquisite detail within the church is the draw that visitors are in awe over.
You will see the doors made of mesquite wood which contrast nicely against the whiteness of the walls. Indoors, you will discover many frescoes painted on the walls and ceilings of various religious figures. Carvings and statues are places throughout the church as well. It took over six years of restoration inside San Xavier Mission Church and the painstaking work is apparently evident with the much more vibrant colors of the frescoes.
Admission and parking is free to this church rich in history although donations are gratefully accepted. Tours are self-guided and there are various church services throughout the week should you wish to attend one. There is a nearby grotto which closely resembles the one in Lourdes, France. You can purchase candles in the gift shop so that you can light and leave one on the altar. Depending on when you go, there are sometimes food stalls set up that sell local food wares like fry bread.