Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral named a basilica. Bishop DuBois would be pleased.

Old St. Patrick's CathedralThe Archdiocese of New York has its first minor basilica: Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the two hundred year-old gothic church in the NoLIta neighborhood. It is a stunningly beautiful church which I only visited once: in the middle of the night in the midst of a torrential downpour the night after Pope John Paul II passed away. The above-linked New York Times piece gives a good description of the grace and beauty of the nave and sanctuary.

The structure has a very high wall around the entire church yard, a remnant of its role as a safehaven during the height of anti-Catholic violence in New York.

My only addition to their account is a bit of an aside, but an amusing story about that church and the colorful characters who participate in Church history. Bishop John DuBois, third bishop of New York (1826-1842), and if I recall, the only non-Irish bishop of New York, requested to be buried under the sidewalk pavement, so that “they might walk over me in death as they did in life.” And there he lies.

Congratulations to Archbishop Dolan and the people of the Archdiocese.



  • Tom

    Dear Tom,
    I went to the Old St. Patrick’s once and was blown away by all the statues…it was awesome. I am from a diocese out west where most of our churches were built in the 60’s and 70’s and so most of out churches are ugly and very few have more then one or two statues. I was blown away with Old St. Patrick’s because there were literally rows of statues all over the church. What a beautiful sight. Peace in Christ.

  • Vermont Crank

    Dear Mr Crowe. Your story reminded me of something similar that was told to us by a pretty young Florentine, Valentina, who was our Guide on a Segway Tour of Florence that me and The Bride took.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    As we rode up to the beautiful Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross), Valentina, told us the story about how a Jewish architect (Niccolo Matas)had rankled the 19th Century Florentines by putting a Star of David on the Basilica’s facade.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And because they were a people with a healthy sense of humor, after his death, they buried him in the top of the landing on the outside staircase, so , every time they went to Mass there, in walking into the Basilica,they were also walking on his grave.



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