Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, Missouri


The Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, Missouri is also known as the Saint Louis Cathedral. Located in the Central West End, the church was built in the early 20th century and was a replacement for the Church of St. Louis IX, King of France located on the riverfront since 1770. The cathedral was designated as a basilica on April 4th, 1979, by the late Pope John Paul the II.

During 1912, the installation of mosaics began on the interior. The project was finally completed in 1988, and now contains some 41.5 million pieces of glass tesserae pieces using over 7,000 different colors. The mosaic covers over 83,000 square feet, and were created by over 20 different artists and is one of the largest mosaic collections in the world.

In the basement of the church, there is a museum and artifacts that have been found within the cathedral over the centuries. Also located in the lower level, is a mortuary chapel which contains the remains of former leaders of the archdioceses. The remains of Cardinals John J. Glennon, John Carberry and Joseph Ritter are interred in the crypts.

Outside of the Cathedral stands the Angel of Harmony. The statue stands 14 feet high and is made of welded stainless steel, by native St. Louis artist Wiktor Szostalo. The statue was installed on the grounds of the Cathedral in 1999, and is located in between the rectory and the church. It is of an African-American angel that stands behind three children of Hispanic, Asian and European descent. The wings of the statue are made of wind chimes and are designed to represent peace, harmony and racial justice.

The organ inside the church is another unique feature of the basilica. The organ was the last one built by the Kilgen Organ Company in 1915, and originally had four keyboards, one in the gallery and another behind the sanctuary. A new organ was installed inside the Cathedral in 1946; it had 77 pipes with 14 of them coming from the original organ. In 1984, the organ was refurbished by the M.P. Moller organ company and in 1997; the Wicks Organ Company from Highland, Illinois began the task of restoring the organ. An additional number of pipes were added, bringing the total to 96 ranks of pipes. In the winter of 2002, the gallery organ was expanded and the old console was replaced. The original Kilgen console was then moved to the basement museum where it remains on display today.

Anyone is invited to visit the Cathedral and tour the mosaics and basement museum. There are daily masses held Monday through Friday at 7 and 8 a.m., and again at 12 p.m. On Saturday there is an 8 am through 5 pm vigil held and on Sunday Mass is held from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and again at 12 p.m. There is a separate confession schedule held separate from Mass, as well as Eucharist Adoration, Evening Prayer and Benedictions, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Stations of the Holy Cross, are held during the Lent season. Even though the Cathedral is officially considered to be "finished'', there are continuous changes and improvements being made by each generation that leaves an indelible imprint of the church for future generations to appreciate.

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