Cathedral History

Our Parish History

The Beginnings of the St. Joseph Cathedral Parish

written by Rev. Mr. James Gorski

Due to overcrowded conditions in St. Patrick’s church and a desire for a new church to be more centrally located in the city of Columbus, in the summer of 1866 Rev. Edward M. Fitzgerald, then pastor of St. Patrick’s took steps in the construction of a new church. Father Fitzgerald was encouraged by the generous donations made accumulating nearly $37,000 from around 250 individuals. From the more influential members of St. Patrick’s was chosen a building committee. The committee consisted of John Conahan, Theodore Leonard, treasurer, John Joyce, John D, Clarke, Thomas Bergin, William Naghten, secretary, John Caren, Michael Harding, William Wall, James Naughton, William Riches, John McCabe, Michael Hartman, John Duffy, Martin Whalen, Bernard NcNally and Michael Galvin.
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The corner stone was laid on the southeast corner of the building, at the intersection of Broad and Fifth. In it’s cavity was placed a sealed tin box, continuing the name of the church, the names of the principal officers of the State and National governments, copies of recent Columbus newspapers, the names of the reigning Pope, the Archbishop of the Province, and pastor. Also included were the names of the officiating Bishop and his assistants, and numerous other articles to serve as mementos of the occasion. Bishop Rosecrans delivered and address from a temporary platform and was said to be eloquent and forcible in the language he used pleading the divinity of the Catholic Church. At the conclusion of the sermon, the Hemmersbach band played “Te Deum”. The clergy present were Rev. Father O’Reilly of Valparaiso, Ind. Rev. John B. Murray of Chillicothe, Revs. Louis Cartuyvel and Daily of Newark, Rev. E. M. Fitzgerald of St. Patrick’s Church, Revs. John B. Hemsteger and F. X. Specht of Holy Cross Church, Rev. Father Hillebrand of St. Francis Hospital. Special trains on different railroads brought large delegations from adjoining towns with the number of individuals being estimated at 6000. With the corner stone being laid, the foundation walls were covered over for the winter with the intention to resume work on the building with the advent of spring.