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St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Manchester. It is from the cathedra, the chair in the sanctuary of the cathedral, that the Bishop of Manchester exercises his teaching and ministerial authority. It is the site of the ordinations of deacons, priests and bishops, and major celebrations such as the Chrism Mass, celebrations of the Jubilees of religious ministering in the diocese, the Rite of Election and the Red Mass. Learn more about our cathedral’s history in the features below. You can also find out more about the cathedral by visiting the Cathedral Parish’s website.

The Building of the Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral was built some fifteen years before the Diocese of Manchester was established and Bishop Denis Bradley (bottom right) named its first ordinary. Originally a parish church, it was consecrated as the cathedral in 1894, ten years after the diocese’s founding.

Clockwise from the top: Installation of Bishop Matthew Brady, 1944; Bishop Denis Bradley, 1884; Mass booklet from the cathedral’s consecration, 1894; 125th Anniversary Mass with Bishop John McCormack, 2009.

Listen to Fr. Joseph Cooper, former rector of St. Joseph Cathedral, tell the story of its early history in "The Building of the Cathedral."

Windows of the Cathedral

At the time of Bishop Bradley’s consecration, the original Saint Joseph Church became the Cathedral of the diocese. The building proved inadequate, and in 1892 plans were made to enlarge it. The present sanctuary was built, the sacristy area was added, and the Chapel constructed. The old stained glass windows were removed and replaced by the present windows. (Two of the original windows are now in the Chapel.) New altars and pews were added. A small sacristy and Chapel connected to the original Church and facing Lowell Street were demolished. The burial vault for the bishops of the diocese was constructed under the high altar. Finally on April 16, 1894, the new buildings were consecrated to the worship of Almighty God in an elaborate ceremony. The work had cost $100,000. (The monument honoring the bishops of the diocese now standing in the garden area near the Chapel was erected by Bishop Delany. One of Bishop Bradley’s last requests was that his successor would erect this monument to remind the Faithful that they should pray for their bishops.)

Excerpt from the history of Saint Joseph Cathedral, taken from www.stjosephcathedralnh.org

The Crypt

The crypt underneath Saint Joseph Cathedral houses the first five Bishops of Manchester.

Listen to Father Cooper tell us about the crypt and which bishops have been interred there.

Expansion of the Cathedral

The cathedral has been expanded several times during its history. Listen to Father Cooper explain the expansion under Bishop Bradley, once the church became the diocese’s cathedral, and again following liturgical changes after Vatican II.

The Chapel at the Cathedral

Known as the Chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Cathedral’s chapel was expanded in 1894 after St. Joseph Church was named the cathedral of the diocese of Manchester. Listen to Father Cooper as he explains the history of this important space in the cathedral.

Diocese of Manchester
The Catholic Church in New Hampshire

153 Ash Street, Box 310
Manchester, NH 03105-0310
(603) 669-3100
Fax: (603) 669-0377

© Diocese of Manchester