2017-08-20

The Great American Catholic Eclipse

The Sun and the Moon appear with approximately the same size as seen from Earth. This coincidence gives a sense of wonder to people from all ages. Because of the apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon change slightly, when they align perfectly with the Earth, solar eclipses can appear as total or annular.

Between 2 and 5 solar eclipses occur every year, but only 27% of these are total eclipses. However, only very few places that fall within the narrow path of totality can witness the event, and most often the path falls on oceans and uninhabited areas. This makes the experience of total solar eclipse so rare. Total eclipses stand out as otherworldly, when darkness descend upon the path of totality rapidly. All creatures sense the fear and awe on witnessing this phenomenon. A minute or two later, the Sun reappears, reassuring all people that light will ultimately conquer, just as Christ resurrects after a brief time of death.

The United States of America is very lucky to be able to witness a total solar eclipse on 21 August 2017. The path of totality will fall on 12 states (not counting Montana and Iowa, which will be barely touched) and 20 dioceses (Portland in Oregon, Baker, Boise City, Cheyenne, Grand Island, Lincoln, Omaha, Salina, Kansas City in Kansas, Kansas City–Saint Joseph, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Springfield–Cape Girardeau, Belleville, Owensboro, Nashville, Knoxville, Charlotte, Atlanta and Charleston).

GCatholic.org, the premier website of Catholic churches, is proud to present a comprehensive list of churches in USA that can witness this total eclipse.



This list shows a total of 744 Catholic churches that fall on the path of totality. Missouri boasts 262 of these churches, Nebraska 124, South Carolina 69, Illinois 59, Tennessee 52, Oregon 51, Kansas 34, Kentucky 30, Wyoming 23, Idaho 20, North Carolina 11, and Georgia 7.

A total of 10 cathedrals are gifted with this rare opportunity to witness the total eclipse:
  1. Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales, Baker City, Oregon
  2. Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Grand Island, Nebraska
  3. Cathedral of the Risen Lord, Lincoln, Nebraska
  4. Co-Cathedral of St. Mary of the Annunciation, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  5. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Kansas City, Missouri
  6. Cathedral of St. Joseph, Jefferson City, Missouri
  7. Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, St. Joseph, Missouri
  8. Cathedral of St. Peter, Belleville, Illinois
  9. Cathedral of the Incarnation, Nashville, Tennessee
  10. Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston, South Carolina
The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Conception Abbey in Missouri is the only basilica that falls within the path. The Lord certainly favours these Benedictine monks, for it lies right on the edge on the path. If you head north for 50 metres from the basilica, you will miss the total eclipse.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has the most churches (138) that can see the total eclipse, followed by the Dioceses of Lincoln (71), Charleston (69) and Jefferson City (63).

There are other noteworthy abbeys that fall in the path of totality:
Seminaries that can see the total eclipse include:
There are several shrines in the list, including the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville, Missouri. 4 Eastern-rite churches can also witness the total eclipse.

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