In 1841 as Father Lucien Galtier’s pioneer parishioners installed a 3-foot cross on the roof of the new log chapel they named “St. Paul,” the young French priest also planted a seed of faith, which during the next 175 years would grow into the largest of plants: the parish of the Cathedral of St. Paul.
The chapel, located on the Mississippi river bluff in what is now downtown St. Paul, fostered the Catholic faith and also served as a catalyst for the capital city of the same name to develop around it. The story of the faithful who populated the new chapel, diocese and city of St. Paul inspires present-day Catholics and residents of the city, which narrowly escaped being named Pig’s Eye.
“It was the beginning of the city of St. Paul,” said Mark Labine, president of the Arden Hills-based French-American Heritage Foundation of Minnesota and author of, “In the beginning, there was a Chapel.” “The city grew up around the chapel. …They built this little log chapel, and it became a cathedral and a school and a hospital, and the name of the city and the name of the capital of Minnesota.”
Full Story about the Cathedral History
“Voices of Light” is a stunning evening of music and film, merging Carl Dreyer’s legendary 1928 silent film masterpiece “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, with the live performance of a moving and powerful orchestral/choral score by award-winning American composer Richard Einhorn. Join conductor Matthew Mehaffey and the Oratorio Society of Minnesota for the Twin Cities premiere.
Voices of Light is a stunning evening of music and film, merging Carl Dreyer’s legendary 1928 silent film masterpiece “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” widely considered to b e one of the greatest films ever made, with the live performance of a moving and powerful orchestral/choral score by award – winning American composer Richard Einhorn.
Whatever our beliefs, the Cathedral of St. Paul is in some way or another ours.
Graceful and imposing, the structure has been an orienting presence on the landscape, drawing locals and tourists of all faiths to its doors, for a century.
A yearlong centennial celebration included Sunday’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated under the dome of the beloved “cathedral on the hill” — one of the so-called seven hills of the Saintly City.
On the hill — also known as St. Anthony Hill — “there’s no better site to put a monumental structure,” Twin Cities architecture expert Larry Millett said in a recent edition of the Catholic Spirit, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “The cathedral is much more visible in St. Paul than the Capitol.”
It was “designed as a monumental, muscular display of faith,” said Millett, also a former Pioneer Press reporter.
And so it remains.