Our Lady of the Angels is a Catholic church in the heart of Kenai that welcomes visitors of all/no faiths. It’s a true hidden gem. What looks like simple and modest architecture on the outside (similar to a well-maintained small cabin), the inside is gorgeous and demands a visit. Catholicism didn’t arrive on the peninsula until 1905 with Fathers Tunnel and Handley who came to minister to the local railroad workers. Soon after, 10,000 square miles of the peninsula was covered as part of a mission.

When the population of Kenai exploded in the 1950s, it was decided that a permanent structure was necessary in Kenai. Property on Willow Street was secured, and in three years the log church was erected with the first mass taking place in 1955. It was officially named Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) and continues to serve the entire peninsula including summer fishing workers.

Room to Grow

Parking was tight, and by 1966 the church moved to Forest Drive. However, as more parishioners started to visit, a larger church was needed. Soon, the present church was built on South Spruce Street. It opened in 1968. Saturdays and Sundays regularly include a morning and evening service as well as a coffee and doughnuts social.

Weekday mass is available Tuesday – Friday at 9:00 a.m. The church is well worth a visit, particularly if you want to get a peek into the unique history of Kenai. Whether it’s for a service, lecture or the social hour, all visitors are welcome, and you can count on being welcomed by the local deacon, sisters who support the church, and a variety of locals.