From St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York to the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, many Roman Catholic churches I’ve seen in various cities are often beautiful buildings.
The Cathedral of Saint Paul in Minnesota is no exception.
Having been raised in the Catholic Church, it’s always nice to be able to admire gorgeous works of architecture while feeling comfortable in something familiar. But it’s also an added bonus to learn about the stories behind each church.
This historic cathedral is responsible for why this half of the Twin Cities adopted the name Saint Paul.
Until 1841, the city was known as Pig’s Eye Landing. That all changed in 1841 when Father Lucien Galtier, the first Catholic priest in the area, donated his log chapel to Saint Paul and requested that the area take on that name.
Today, the Cathedral of Saint Paul is the center of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and about 1,000 households call it their home parish. It’s also the fourth building known to have that name. You can read more about the cathedral here.
In addition to the history, the Beaux Arts architecture of the cathedral is amazing. The exterior of the building – specifically its most distinct feature, a 120-foot-wide dome – caught my eye while I was on my way to another place in the city. The dome can be seen from various locations in Saint Paul, including from the top of the Landmark Center. The version of Saint Paul Cathedral that exists today was completed in 1941 and can seat 3,000 people.
When I came in, there was a mass going on so I didn’t get to go up close to the sanctuary, but it’s the focal point of the cathedral and features six columns made of black and gold marble that weigh nearly eight tons, and a painting of the Holy Spirit, among other things. At the altar, there are seven bronze grilles, and there’s beautiful stained glass placed throughout the building, including on the domes.
The Cathedral Saint Paul is free to visit with ample parking for visitors who drive. It’s also easily accessible via public transit.