Saint Paul Cathedral
8:00 am (televised)
8:15 am (televised)
7:00 pm - 7:30 pm
or by appointment
St. Paul was founded in 1834. Before St. Paul was established, the city had only one Catholic parish, St. Patrick. As the population of the city grew in the 1820's, it soon became obvious that the city would need another church to accommodate the growing Catholic congregation. On August 27, 1827, a meeting of the Pittsburgh Catholics was called to address the issue. As a result of the meeting, a committee was formed to purchase a site for a new church. The committee chose a lot on the corner of Grant Street and Fifth Avenue. The cornerstone of the new church was laid on June 24, 1829. However, the congregation was not wealthy and fund raising was slow. As a result, the church was not ready for occupancy until 1834. Even at that time, the church was not completed as the tower was not finished (it never was finished). On May 4, 1834, St. Paul was dedicated.
The next milestone in the history of the church occurred in 1843, when Pittsburgh became a diocese and St. Paul became the diocesan Cathedral. In 1844, the city of Pittsburgh decided to grade off the hill upon which the Cathedral sat. The streets were lowered a second time in 1847. As a result, the church ended up sitting on a mound of dirt towering 30 feet over the surrounding streets. This caused an undermining of the foundation. On January 27, 1850, a parish meeting determined that the church would have to be torn down and the lot graded off to the level of the street. Fund raising for a new church began immediately. However, before the parish could act, a fire destroyed the church on May 6, 1851.
Work immediately began on the new church and the cornerstone was laid on June 15, 1851. In September of 1853, the basement was completed and used for services. On June 24, 1855, the Cathedral was consecrated. The Cathedral served the community for the remainder of the century. However, by the turn of the twentieth century, the expansion of the business district made it necessary to move the Cathedral. In a meeting held on April 9, 1901, the decision was made to sell the existing property and buy another lot of land at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Craig Street in Oakland. The last Mass was celebrated on May 10, 1903. The church was torn down and the site is now occupied by the Union Trust Building. A new parish, Epiphany, was founded for the remaining parishioners. While the new Cathedral was being built, Epiphany also served as a temporary Cathedral. The cornerstone for the new Cathedral was laid on September 6, 1903 and the completed building was dedicated on October 24, 1906. The Cathedral still stands today.