While running around Midtown one day we ended up near St Patricks Cathedral. It is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church in the United States and a prominent landmark of New York City. One of my aunts, and my best friend, are both Catholic, and I have been to Mass with both of them at several different churches. However, I have never have I been in one as grand as this. To say it is gorgeous would be an understatement. It is absolutely stunning.
Before I tell you about our visit, I wanted to share a little history of this incredible cathedral. According to their site, created to affirm the ascendance of religious freedom and tolerance, St Patricks Cathedral was built in the democratic spirit, paid for not only by the contributions of thousands of poor immigrants but also by prominent citizens who pledged $1,000 each. Work on the cathedral began in 1858 but was halted during the Civil War and resumed in 1865. It was eventually completed in 1878. The Cathedral was formally opened, dedicated, and blessed by Cardinal McCloskey on May 25, 1879
The cathedral, which can accommodate 3,000 people, is built of brick clad in marble, quarried in Massachusetts and New York. It takes up a whole city block, between 50th and 51st streets, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue. At the transepts it is 174 feet wide and 332 feet long. The spires rise 330 feet from street level. The slate for the roof came from Monson, Maine. The windows were made by artists in Boston, Massachusetts and European artists from Chartres, France and Birmingham, England. Charles Connick created the rose window.
Even before you walk into the St Patrick’s Cathedral you are greeted with beauty as you enter through the bronze doors. Each door weighs 9,200 pounds, and they are so well balanced that they can be opened by a single hand. Carved into their facades are the figures of holy men and women. They were officially dedicated and blessed December 23, 1949 by Cardinal Spellman.
As I said earlier, the sanctuary is magnificent. It is breathtaking and peaceful even with all the people walking around taking pictures. It is so huge that it doesn’t seem crowded. The thing that was interesting was that there were two altars. One is in the very front of the cathedral and the other in sort of near the middle. They are both amazing, but of course the one of front is stunning.
Art work throughout St Patricks Cathedral is definitely worth taking a closer look at. The Pietà, sculpted by William Ordway Partridge, is three times larger than Michelangelo’s Pietà. The cathedral’s Stations of the Cross won an 1893 artistry prize at Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition. Commemorating his visit to the city in 1979, Pope John Paul II bust is located in the rear of the cathedral.
You also won’t want to miss the Gallery Organ. It required three years to build at a cost of $250,000, and was dedicated on February 11, 1930. Adorned with angels and Latin inscriptions, it has one of the nation’s most glorious wood facades. It contained 7,855 pipes ranging in length from thirty-two feet to one-half inch. The longest pipes run horizontally across the North and South Triforia.
I am so glad we stopped in to look around, take a few quiet pictures (no flash, or course) and have a peaceful moment. I am not Catholic, but if I were, this is the church that I would want to go to if I lived in New York. St Patricks Cathedral is one of those places you don’t want to miss while in Manhattan. It is remarkable.
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