South End, December 2014


cathedral of the holy cross, south end (sonya kovacic)

cathedral of the holy cross, south end (sonya kovacic)

A cathedral (Greek cathedra, "seat" "chair") is defined as a Christian church that contains a seat of the bishop. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross of Boston is of the Roman Catholic denomination and is presided by Cardinal Archbishop Seán Cardinal O'Malley. Completed in 1875, it was designed in the Gothic Revival Style by Irish American Patrick Keely, who was responsible for designing some 700 churches during his lifetime. As the largest cathedral in New England, it can fit nearly 1700 people.

The first Cathedral of the Holy Cross was located on Franklin Street and was designed by Charles Bullfinch in 1803 (built first as a church) and was the city's first Roman Catholic church. In April 8, 1808, Pope Pius VII declared the first Catholic Diocese of Boston and the Church of the Holy Cross became a cathedral. In the 19th century, Boston Catholics encountered lots of opposition from predominantly protestant Bostonians. Boston College Prof. Emeritus Thomas O'Connor explains how Irish Catholics "found strong anti-Catholic and anti-Irish prejudice, two centuries after the city's founding by English Puritans of Cromwellian bent whose rigid opposition to "popery" led them to ban Catholics from the Massachusetts Bay Colony." Thanks to subsequent waves of Irish immigration, Catholicism became more accepted and then dominated some areas of the city.

There is footage from January 9th, 1964, of a Mass held in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for President John F Kennedy, following his assassination. Jacqueline Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy, and Rose Kennedy (JFK's mom) were in attendance.