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Baltimore, Maryland: Cathedral of Mary Our Queen


History of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen

On February 7, 1904, the infamous Baltimore fire, which wiped out 1,343 buildings in a 75-block arc, was crawling towards a hardware store owned by Thomas J. O’Neill. Plans were made to demolish his store and others to create a fire-break to stop the spread of the fire….and that included the store.  A devout Irish Catholic, O’Neill had just come from Mass, where he asked the sisters in the convent to pray that his store be spared, and told the authorities they would have to blow him up with it  Just as the flames reached the south wall, the wind shifted and the fire moved eastward, saving his store from destruction.

O’Neill died in 1919, and in his will, he specified that upon his wife’s death (in 1936…….they had no children) and the payment of a grant to Loyola College, two thirds of his estate were to become available for the building of a new cathedral in Baltimore, while the remainder was to be devoted to the construction of a hospital.

In October 1954, ground was broken for the Cathedral and it was dedicated in 1959, thanks to the generosity of Mr. O’Neill.   The day after the Cathedral’s groundbreaking ceremony, His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, issued a world letter instituting May 31 as the feast of Mary as Queen to be celebrated throughout the entire world. The pope’s decree honoring Mary led to a decision to name the new cathedral after Our Lady’s Heavenly Coronation as Queen.

Photos courtesy of Cathedral of Mary Our Queen

Traveling to the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore:

Address:   5200 N. Charles St.  Baltimore, MD 21210

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