A New Archbishop for Boston
Cathedral of the Holy Cross

In 1860, Bishop John Fitzpatrick saw that Boston had outgrown the cathedral on Franklin Street, but the Civil War interrupted plans for building a new cathedral. Ground was finally broken for the new cathedral on April 29, 1866. The rites of dedication were performed on December 8, 1875, by Archbishop John J. Williams, Bostonís first archbishop.

An Irishmanís vision
The Cathedral of the Holy Crossís cruciform neo-Gothic edifice was designed by Patrick Charles Keely. Born on Aug. 9, 1816 in Thurles, Ireland, Keely was the son of a builder who helped with the construction of St. Patrickís College in that Tipperary town.

The depiction of the discovery of the true cross by St. Helena in Jerusalem during the fourth century was created between 1869 and 1874, probably by a German studio.

The relic of the cross on which Christ is said to have been crucified was a gift to the church of Boston from its first pastor, the Abbe de la Poterie, who celebrated Bostonís first public Mass in 1788.


Length 364 feet
Width 170 feet; 90 feet at nave and aisles
Height 120 feet
Pews Seat more than 2,000

Globe Staff Graphic / Alejandro Gonzalez, Kathleen Hennrikus, James Bennett
SOURCES: AmericanCatholic.org; Archdiocese of Boston; Catholic Encyclopedia; Catholic-hierarchy.org; "Dictionary of the Liturgy;" Father Jason A. Gray of the Peoria Archdiocese; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops