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Parish History

The Beginnings of the Parish

written by Rev. Mr. James Gorski


Continued from Page 2

The interior walls of the cathedral have only the sandstone finish, while the groined arches of the ceiling are painted plaster to match the appearance of the sandstone walls. Rev. J.A. Murray was the pastor of St. Patrick's Church at the time but was heavily involved in the cathedral's construction, holding the position of general supervisor. General Rosecrans plans and ideas were carried out as close to original with few changes. From 1870 on, the completion of the building was under the supervision of Mr. Michael Fahey. In order to attempt to relieve the crowded condition of the other churches, Bishop Rosecrans opened a temporary chapel at Naughton Hall, which was situated on the east side of High Street, between State and Town. The hall had a seating capacity of around 500. Bishop Rosecrans assisted by Rev. J.A. Murray and other priests at St. Patrick’s attended the chapel. The choir at the time was under the direction of Mr. M. Fahey, an individual who was connected with local catholic choirs for more than 35 years. Within a few months, the Cathedral chapel congregation was placed under the care of Rev. J.F. Rotchford. O.P., a Dominican father from New York, until 1872 when he was called by his superiors to perform other duties elsewhere. From that time until the cathedral was completed, Bishop Rosecrans and Rev. N.A. Gallagher conducted the religious services.9

It was Christmas day in the year 1872, the cathedral was now ready to a point that services could be held within the structure. Bishop Rosecrans celebrated High mass for the first time in the new cathedral and was assisted by a number of priests of the city. It was a cold and disagreeable day. The large congregation huddled within the confines of the building to keep warm. Problems had developed within the newly installed steam heating. Soon after the opening of the cathedral, a large and costly main altar was constructed. The marble was donated by Cardinal McCloskey, and came from the quarries in New York State. These were the same quarries that the marble was obtained to create the interior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.10 The side altars of the cathedral were added soon afterward and were constructed of the same material.

1873 came and there still were no residential quarters for the clergy of the new cathedral. In order to rectify the situation, donations were collected and the Joseph Gundersheimer house on the South side of East Broad Street, between sixth and seventh street, was purchased. By the end of the year 1873, the bishop and the clergy of the cathedral were housed in a comfortable fashion. Unfortunately it was discovered that the location of the structure was inconvenient to the location of the cathedral and plans were made to erect a new residence that would connect directly to the cathedral.


Cost of St. Joseph's Cathedral and Episcopal Residence
as of January 1, 1877

Item Cost
Sandstone 38,978.86
Limestone 3,703.08
Face Stone 2,235.64
Marble 492.88
Brick 2,549.85
Lime 1,500.02
Cement 743.80
Sand 879.45
Labor (Stonecutters & Setters, Mason & Laborers) 122,613.40
Plasters 589.80
Iron 6,700.34
Hardware (including paint) 2,958.94
Bricklaying 1,648.40
Equipment and Painting 8,005.81
Lumber 4,977.12
Plumbing 1,055.28
Slate Roof and Cornice 478.60
Tin Roof 3,723.59
Steam Heaters, Boiler and 5,382.96
Gas fixtures and fitting 809.20
Windows 3,776.97
Sawing Stone 1,952.66
Lighting Rod 389.10
Curtains for Doors and Matting 373.00
Sundries 341.12
Coal 697.83
Repairing Street 66.00
Total $217,623.70

Click here to continue the Cathedral History (page 4)


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