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New York City: Saint Patrick’s Cathedral


History of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City:

Front view of St. Patrick's CathedralIn 1785, New York City had only about 200 Catholics and one priest. Definitely a minority among a largely Protestant country, and one which had a fair number of opponents to Catholicism.

By 1853, this had changed somewhat to where Catholics, although still a minority, became large enough in numbers to become an Archdiocese. In that year Archbishop Huges announced his plans to build a magnificent new Cathedral. It was to be built in an area that was almost a wilderness and considered too far from the city itself. In fact it became referred to as “Hughes’ Folly” by those opposed to its’ construction.

The cornerstone was laid in 1858 and various improvements and additions continued throughout the following centuries.

The building was constructed from funds given not only by wealthy citizens of the city, who pledged $1,000 each, but also from poor immigrants recently arrived.

The Cathedral was dedicated on May 25, 1879 by the first American cardinal, John Cardinal McCloskey. At the time, Catholics were still discriminated against in the U.S. so construction of the Cathedral had great symbolic meaning.

The “remote area” once so ridiculed is now in the heart of New York City, close to Radio City Music Hall, Central Park and many other world-famous attractions. The Cathedral draws over 5 million visitors each year.

About Saint Patrick’s Cathedral today:

Restoration of the beauty of the Cathedral was completed in 2017, and the Cathedral has been restored to its earlier beauty.  There are seven daily Masses in the Cathedral as listed on their website. Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope to celebrate Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, on April 19, 2008. Sunday Masses are televised and podcasts can be viewed through their website.

Pierre ToussantLocated in the crypt area is the tomb of Venerable Pierre Toussaint, the former slave who became one of the city’s most well-known hairdressers as well as a role model for Catholics with his many efforts to help others, both black and white.  He was originally buried in Saint Patricks Old Cathedral and then re-entombed here.

He is the only layperson laid to rest here among the Bishops and Archbishops.

His Feast day in June 30.  

Among the many chapels is their newest one, dedicated to Saint Charbel, the Catholic Maronite monk and priest from Lebanon.  He is revered in many parts of Europe and the Middle East, but less well-known in the U.S.A., although that appears to be changing.  The chapel holds a hand-crafted mosaic as well as a first class relic of the Saint.


Traveling to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral:

Saint Patrick’s has become such a famous landmark, it hardly needs a street number.

Address: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022

GPS coordinates: 40° 45′ 30.4740” N, 73° 58′ 33.5748” W

Tel: +1 (212) 753-2261      Fax: +1 (212) 755-4128

e-mail: see contacts on their website.

Click here for the official website of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

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