If you are visiting New York City then you will want to be certain to visit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral one of the most famous churches in New York City. This splendid piece of architect is located on Fifth Street between 50th and 51st Streets. The cathedral has been recognized throughout history as the center of Catholic life in the United States. The Gothic-style Catholic cathedral, the largest in the U.S., has been home to countless New Yorkers for more than 125 years. The cathedral is a showcase to more than five and one half million visitors each year. For those worshippers who regularly attend the services it represents a place of peace and tranquility. These worshippers also enjoy the beautiful stained glass windows, along with the wood and marble sculptures, the altars, and the magnificent architecture.
Archbishop John Hughes started the building of the cathedral in 1858. Construction was halted during the Civil War. In 1865 the first American Cardinal, John Cardinal McCloskey resumed the construction. Fourteen years later the doors first opened. In 1888 Archbishop Michael Corrigan added the towers on the West Front. He then began work on the east addition in 1901. This included the Lady Chapel. An extensive renovation was undertaken by Cardinal Hayes between the years of 1927 and 1931. This was also when the great organ was put in place.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, built from of brick and then covered with white marble and stone, is the seat of the Archdiocese of New York. Visitor’s entering the church will immediately be surprised with the huge area it covers offering seating for 2,200 people. You will also enjoy the St. Michael and St. Louis altars. Both of these came from the world famous Tiffany & Co. The St. Elizabeth altar was designed by Paolo Medici of Rome. This honors the first American born saint, Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton. The Saint John Baptist de la Salle altar is one of the original side chapel altars. This was created to commemorate the patron saint of catechists and teachers. The adjoining stained glass window was granted by the Vatican to the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. It depicts the Papal bull.
The magnificent spires rise 330 feet in the air. The windows were made by various artists in Chartres, France, Birmingham, England, and Boston, Massachusetts. The beautiful rose window was created by Charles Connick. The Stations of the Cross was awarded a prize for artistry during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois. Sculptor Araldo Perugi, an immigrant from Carrara, Italy created the Pieta. It is three times larger than the original Pieta created by Michelangelo. The bust of Pope John Paul ll commemorates his visit to New York in 1979. It is located in the rear of the cathedral.
George Jardine & Son built the original pipe organs during the 19th century. They have since been replaced by the chancel organ. It was built in St. Louis, Missouri. The organ was installed in 1928. The amazing organ has 3,920 pipes. Even though it has a huge number of pipes it does not compete with the grand gallery organ. It was built and installed two years later. It has an overwhelming 5,918 pipes. Together these organs total 177 stops with 9,838 pipes.
Visitors can see the crypt located underneath the high altar. Here a number of important Catholic figures are entombed. These include such people as John Joseph O”Connor, Terence Cooke, and Francis Spellman. In 1990 Pierre Toussaint was interred. Six years later he was declared venerable by Pope John Paul ll. This is the second step toward entering sainthood.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral has provided final services for such notable people as Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, and Billy Martin. The services for U.S. Senator, N.Y., Robert F. Kennedy were held here. Other names such as artist Andy Warhol, author William F. Buckley, Jr. and baseball player Joe DiMaggio were honored with special memorial masses held at the cathedral. This beautiful cathedral will continue to serve the worshippers in New York City for many years to come.
photo credit: eviltomthai