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Natchez, Mississippi: Basilica of Saint Mary

About the Basilica of Saint Mary in Natchez, Mississippi:

One of the architectural masterpiece among Catholic churches in the south, construction was begun in 1842 as the Cathedral of Our Lady Sorrows — a status she maintained until the Diocese headquarters was transferred from Natchez to Jackson in 1977. It is the oldest Catholic building still in use in Mississippi.

There is a rich Catholic heritage that is preserved in the artwork of this antebellum Church.  Twelve of the sixteen stained-glass windows, designed by Tiroler Glasmalerei of Innsbruck, Austria, were installed from 1884 to 1893. The remaining four were designed by Emil Frei of St. Louis, Missouri, and were installed in 1961.

There are three marble altars, communion rail, Episcopal chair, and screens, made of Carrara marble that were fashioned in Italy in Gothic style for Saint Mary’s. The two side altars were installed in 1903 and the main altar was installed in 1930. A new oak altar of celebration and pulpit were installed in 1991.

In 1977 the Diocese moved to Jackson, Mississippi, and Saint Mary became a church. Then on September 8, 1998, Saint Mary was designated a Minor Basilica. One year later—on September 25, 1999—the formal dedication took place.

In June 2002 two concurrent renovations were completed. The first was a partial exterior renovation to repair damage caused by a straight-line wind that struck Natchez in February 1998. The second was a complete interior renovation that was completed by Waggonner and Ball Architects of New Orleans.

Four bells were blessed at the end of Cathedral School’s Wednesday morning mass before being lifted high into the church tower. St. Mary Rector the Rev. Aaron Williams, surrounded by students, faculty and parishioners, blessed and anointed the three new bronze bells and one fully restored bell. The bells will join another bell already in the church tower.

Each year, they welcome thousands of pilgrims and tourists who come to pray, to worship, and to experience the beauty of the Catholic faith expressed uniquely here in the heart of the American ‘Bible Belt’.


Finding the Basilica of Saint Mary in Natchez, Mississippi:

Address:  105 S Union St, Natchez, MS 39121

Tel: +1 (601) 445-5616

Click here for the official website of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Natchez, Mississippi


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