Our Cathedral

Rector’s Welcome

Dear Friends,

“The designs of his Heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death, and keep them alive in famine.”

The words of Psalm 33 resound in the Church’s commemoration of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, declaring our trust in God’s providence.

In that spirit, I welcome you to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Here on this website, you can read the Sunday homily, peruse the weekly bulletin, and learn about the great things happening in the parish.

I also invite you to visit this magnificent church in person. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus inspire you to live out the verse inscribed on the façade of this cathedral: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Sincerely in Christ,

Very Reverend Anthony E. Marques
Rector and Vicar Forane

Visiting the Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is located in Richmond, Virginia near the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University at 823 Cathedral Pl, Richmond, VA 23220. The Cathedral is open for visitors Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., unless there is a special event or services are in progress.  Please note, the Cathedral is typically closed for major holidays such as Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.

Our Mass schedule is Tuesday, Thursday, Friday at 12:00 p.m. and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.. Wednesday Mass is moved to 12:00 p.m. when VCU is out of session. On weekends, Mass is celebrated Saturday 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The Cathedral opens 30 minutes before weekend Masses.

Whether you’re a parishioner, guest, or a first-time visitor, please be sure to check out the Self-Guided Tour Brochure and take a virtual tour of our majestic Cathedral or take the 360° tour. Also, check out our Mass Schedule.


STREET PARKING is available on the streets surrounding the Cathedral – Cathedral Place (Park) and N. Cathedral Place (Cherry). These spots are free and marked with Cathedral Parking signs for all those visiting the Cathedral. Parking is also available on S. Cathedral Place (Floyd), Cherry and Laurel. Please read signs carefully. These locations have time limits or metered parking.

VCU DECK PARKING is also available. The locations of the West Main Street, West Broad Street and West Cary Street decks. Please pull tickets upon entrance and pay upon exit. Parking costs: $2 per hour with a maximum of $16 per day.   Credit/debit cards and cash are accepted.

Cathedral History

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.

source: Style Weekly article on Thomas F. Ryan

Cathedral Fast Facts:

  • In 2006, the Cathedral celebrated its 100th year anniversary.
  • The Cathedral is a Virginia Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The Cathedral was designed by noted New York Architect Joseph H. Mcguire in Italian Renaissance Revival style.
  • The Cathedral recently underwent extensive renovations to its entire complex.
  • The Cathedral is the Mother Parish of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and the local parish for its Richmond congregation.
  • The Cathedral’s namesake is The Sacred Heart of Jesus.
  • The Cathedral houses The Museum of Virginia Catholic History.
  • The Cathedral’s Music Ministry actively promotes and engages in the arts and social outreach for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and the Greater Richmond Area by hosting free music concerts and choirs throughout the year.
  • Catholic Campus Ministry serving Virginia Commonwealth University has long been an active ministry for college students at the Cathedral.
  • In partnership with St. Bridget’s Church, the Cathedral’s Haiti Ministry supports an elementary school in Carissade, Haiti.
  • The Cathedral has over 40 ministries that parishioners can be a part of: ParishResource Guide.

Museum of Virginia Catholic History

Crypt photo by John Moser
Crypt photo by John Moser

The Museum of Virginia Catholic History was established by the Most Reverend Walter F. Sullivan, eleventh Bishop of Richmond.

In the late 1990s, Bishop Sullivan recognized a growing need for a permanent environment in which to collect and display the rare artifacts and memorabilia that belonged to the Diocese. With the intention of creating a space in which to illustrate the rich history of Catholicism in Virginia, plans to establish a Diocesan museum began to take shape.

Through the efforts and determination of Anne C. Edwards, then Chancellor of the Diocese, Bishop Sullivan’s vision came to fruition in May of 2003 as the Museum of Virginia Catholic History opened its doors to the public for the first time.

In 2008, following the relocation of the Diocesan administrative offices and archives to the new Pastoral Center, the decision was made to move the museum collections into the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, the mother church of the Diocese. The Cathedral is a well-visited national historic landmark, making it an ideal location for the display of museum artifacts.

Presently, there are two museum exhibits installed in the Cathedral: Built on a Cornerstone of Faith: The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, located in the Baptistery Gallery, and a temporary exhibit illustrating the history of the Diocese of Richmond which is located in the Crypt & Undercroft area. Additionally, there are four informational displays in the Cathedral’s vestibule and aisle cases that illustrate the Cathedral’s early history, highlighting its 1906 Consecration Day.

Our Mission

The mission of the Museum of Virginia Catholic History is to collect, preserve and interpret artifacts of spiritual and cultural significance belonging to Virginia’s Catholic community.

Through its collection, the Museum traces the history of the Diocese of Richmond from its establishment in 1820 up to the present day. The items on exhibit help to tell the story of the Diocese, illustrating the development of Catholic faith and identity in Virginia.

By preserving these unique artifacts, future generations of Catholics are assured a visible memory and greater understanding of the people, places and events that have helped to shape Catholicism in the state.

The Museum of Virginia Catholic History is committed to educating visitors about the challenges Virginia’s early Catholic men and women encounters and overcame, enabling Catholicism to flourish.

For more information visit the Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Universal Access

The Cathedral was completed in 1906, so like many historic buildings there are some issues with access and safety.

There is wheelchair access to the sanctuary through the ramp on our Parish Hall side (north side) and then into the church using the ramp in the North Transcept (St. Vincent dePaul alcove). The restrooms off the Parish Hall have handicapped accessibility.

An elevator allows access to our Museum of Virginia Catholic History and crypt, located under our altar area.

If you want to see what the Cathedral is like before you visit, try our virtual tour.

Handicapped parking is located at the Northwest corner along the Parish Hall side, and at the Southwest corner of the church’s block (corner of S. Cathedral Place and Cherry St, in front of the Parish Offices). Our parking map show the location of available handicapped parking and is available for downloading and printing.

Attending Services And Events

If you are attending a large musical event or service at the Cathedral and are a wheelchair user, please let us know in advance and we can create a suitable seating space within the main nave area.

For the benefit of visitors and parishioners troubled by hearing loss, a Hearing (T) Loop is installed in the main Cathedral. The Hearing Loop is active throughout each liturgy, effortlessly transmitting auditory output from our celebrants, lectors, and music ministers to people who access the Hearing Loop.

To access the loop:


Hearing aid users simply switch their personal hearing aid from their regular M (microphone input) to the loop or telephone input program or setting of their hearing aid(s). Note: your hearing aid must have an induction coil or telecoil to access our loop system.

Many hearing aids also offer a setting for simultaneous mike (local environmental sound) and telecoil (MT) to enable the user. In settings where one wishes both inputs, the MT setting is useful.

If you do not wear hearing aids or if you do not wear Hearing (T) Loop enabled hearing aids, please ask an usher for a hearing receiver and earbud set. Please return this unit to an usher prior to leaving the Cathedral.

Cathedral Photographic Art and History Book


Available now for purchase Celebrating 100 Years, A Journey of Faith, is a pictorial view and history of our church. To obtain your copy, download an order form:

and mail it along with your payment to:

Cathedral Book
c/o Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
823 Cathedral Place
Richmond, Virginia 23220