St. Mary's Cathedral

St. Mary's Cathedral in Calgary, Alberta, Canada is a Roman Catholic cathedral. The building’s full name is The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

History

St. Mary’s began as a sandstone church in 1889, built near the Elbow River on land provided by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The area was called the Mission District, due to the settlement of Father Albert Lacombe in the area in 1884. The original Catholic mission was called Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix. The land was used to establish a French speaking incorporated village called Rouleauville, which subsequently became overwhelmingly English and was annexed by Calgary in 1907 (making St. Mary's part of Calgary). The same land obtained by Lacombe was also used to build St. Mary's School nearby.

When the Diocese of Calgary was formed on November 30, 1912 by Pope Pius X, St. Mary’s became the Cathedral as the seat of the Bishop.

Demolition of the sandstone cathedral began on July 21, 1955, and on October 30, 1955 the cornerstone for the Cathedral was laid. Construction was completed in February 1957, and was officially consecrated on December 11, 1957 by the Most Reverend Francis P. Carroll, Bishop of Calgary.

Architecture
  • Architects: Maxwell Bates and Alfred Hodges
  • Engineer: Jan Bobrowski and Partners
  • Contractor: Bird Construction Company Ltd.
  • Cost: $1,000,000 CAD

The cathedral is built in a modern gothic style. The floor plan is a St. Anthony's Cross (T or Tau-shaped) rather than the usual Latin cross that forms most Western Christian churches.

The tabernacle, chalices, monstrance, candle holders and sanctuary lamp were all designed and cast by Gunning and Son Bronze Works of Dublin, Ireland.

The stained glass throughout the cathedral was commissioned from the Franz Mayer Company of Munich, Germany.

The pulpit was designed by the architects and built from hand carved oak by the Globe Furniture Company of Waterloo, Ontario. The carvings depict the figures of Christ and the four major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel and Daniel.

Mounted over the main doors is a 16-foot statue of the Virgin Mary with Child in cast stone, designed by the Calgary sculptor Luke Lindoe.

Senator Pat Burns donated four 750-pound bells in to the church in 1904 that were cast by the Paccard Foundry in Anneey, France. These four bells are the only parts from the old building used in the construction of the new Cathedral.