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Birmingham, Alabama: The Cathedral of Saint Paul

About The Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham, Alabama:

St. Paul’s was originally a parish church of the Archdiocese of Mobile, later the Archdiocese of Mobile-Birmingham, with St. Paul’s becoming a Co-Cathedral. On December 9, 1969 the Holy See erected the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama from territory that previously was part of the Archdiocese, and designated St. Paul’s as the Cathedral Church of the new Diocese of Birmingham.

The building you see today was begun in 1890 and completed in 1893.  Built in the neo-gothic syle, which became popular in the 19th century, it copies many of the aspects of the original Gothic style and is built in the form of a Basilica, with a semicircular domed apse at one end, a center aisle and two side aisles.  Ten solid granite columns support vaults and arches indicative of the neo-gothic style.

Most recently, a complete renovation of the exterior was finished in 2015.

There are statues of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. John Vianney, and St. Paul (all near the sanctuary) and St. Anthony of Padua (immediately to the right, in the back, upon entering the nave), as well as the images of various saints in the stained glass windows.

The Bishop’s cathedra (or throne) is located in the sanctuary on the left side. It is surmounted by his coat of arms and only he may use this chair, which he does whenever presiding at a Cathedral liturgy.

Also here in Birmingham, you will find Saint Stephen the Martyr Chapel: a campus ministry center for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, and other colleges in the Birmingham area.

A bit of local history highlighting the anti-Catholic bigotry of the past:

In the early 19th century, the Ku Klux Klan was very strong in this area and strongly opposed to bi-racial marriage.  The priest of Saint Paul’s, Fr. Coyle, performed a wedding between the daughter of a Southern Methodist Episcopal minister (a member of the Ku Klux Klan) who had recently converted to Catholicism and a man of Puerto Rican descent. The minister shot Fr. Coyle on the steps of the rectory in front of many witnesses.  A jury, composed of Klansmen, found the minister not guilty.  You can read the full story here on Wikipedia.

Finding The Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham, Alabama:

Address: 2120 3rd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203

Click here for the official website of the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham, Alabama

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