Welcome to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Parish! For over a century, the Cathedral has provided a singular environment for Sunday worship, varied liturgical events, diocesan celebrations, and community events. The people of the Cathedral Parish Community represent a wide variety of age groups, backgrounds, experiences and occupations. Unlike many suburban parishes, our parishioners choose to travel to the Cathedral from all areas of the city of Richmond and local counties to our inner city location.
Given all these singular gifts, we realize that a newcomer can still feel isolated in the midst of new and unknown faces, ministries and opportunities. We hope to minimize such isolation and invite you to learn more about the Cathedral Parish so that you and your household may experience our rich opportunities for worship, community, and ministry. The Cathedral is truly a place where all are counted as parishioners.
Monsignor Patrick Golden, Rector
We, the Cathedral community of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, express our shared life in the ministries of liturgical celebration, faith formation and service. Our vision is rooted in the mission of Jesus Christ to the world and in our uniqueness as a parish, specifically the diversity of our membership from all walks of life, our relationship to our urban neighborhood, including Virginia Commonwealth University, our history, and our special role as the mother parish of our diocese.
Taking a Tour of the Cathedral
The Cathedral is open for visitors Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Saturdays 3:30 - 6:00 p.m., and Sundays 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m., unless there is a special event or services are in progress. You can now see the results of extensive preservation of the original seat of the Virginia Diocese (now Richmond Diocese). In addition, two newly installed exhibits presented by the Museum of Virginia Catholic History are open for viewing by appointment or, if church volunteers are available, after Masses on Sunday mornings. For more information about the Museum or to schedule a guided tour of the Cathedral, please contact Edie Jeter, Museum Curator, at (804) 359-5661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presently, the museum exhibits located in the Baptistery Gallery and Crypt & Undercroft are available to tour by appointment only. Hope you have a wonderful visit!
Lesson Plans for Teachers
Lesson plans to enhance your class trip to the Cathedral are now available to download. These include activities for 7th Grade Religion and 11th Grade History, and are compatible with the Consensus Curriculum for the Diocese of Richmond.
Designed by New York architect Joseph H. McGuire, the Cathedral is considered to be Virginia's finest ecclesiastical example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style. The building is constructed of Virginia granite and Indiana limestone with a copper dome and tile roof. Six fluted Corinthian columns support the architrave on the front of the exterior, which displays the motto "If Ye Love Me Keep My Commandments" (John 14:15). The outline of the coat of arms of the Diocese of Richmond appears above the name of the church to the left of the columns.
Richmond was a small town of only 16,000 when its first Catholic Cathedral, St. Peter's, 800 E. Grace Street, was built in 1834. After the Civil War, Bishop John McGill realized that the growing Catholic population would need a new house of worship. In 1867 he purchased a lot in what was then considered the far west end. Lack of funds prevented further action until 1884 when Bishop John J. Keane purchased the remainder of the present block. With the announcement of a gift of $500,000 for the proposed cathedral from Thomas Fortune Ryan and his wife, Ida Barry Ryan, plans for the building were drawn up.
On June 4, 1903, Archbishop Diomede Falconio, Apostolic Delegate to the United States, officiated at the laying of the cornerstone, which came from the Garden of Gethsemane. Three years later, thousands of people filled the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart for the Dedication on Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1906. The consecration ceremony was a milestone in both Richmond's history and the history of the Catholic Church in Virginia. The event was reported nationally, and the local newspaper devoted two special sections on the religious, architectural, and civic importance of the Cathedral.
The Cathedral Carillon was installed in 1995. It is a gift of the Most Reverend Walter F. Sullivan, then Bishop of Richmond, in celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Diocese of Richmond and the 25th Anniversary of Bishop Sullivan's episcopacy. The 61-bell note Carillon was made by Van Bergen Foundries, Inc. of Charleston, South Carolina.
Framed by Richmond's Monroe Park, the Monroe Park campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, and the residential Fan District, the Cathedral serves as the Mother Church of the Diocese of Richmond and as the local parish for its Richmond congregation. The Cathedral is a Virginia Historic Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and received the Historic Richmond Foundation's 1992 Award of Achievement for its restoration.
Style Weekly article on Thomas F. Ryan
Questions or Comments: please email our webmaster, Jayne Hushen Last site update, December 14, 2014
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart | 800 S. Cathedral Place | Richmond, Virginia 23220 | 804-359-5651
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