Welcoming the faithful for over two centuries
The first church was built on this site in 1803 and run by Franciscan priests. The original building and two other subsequent churches were destroyed by earthquakes and a devastating fire. The present edifice was dedicated in 1887. The Cathedral was honoured with the title of Basilica in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
Unique and memorable
Unlike other churches, the altar is in the centre of the church with rows of pews that radiate outwards. The artwork and the frieze within the Cathedral were largely executed by Father Luigi Sciocchetti. The dome is painted from within and ringed by cherubs wafting on clouds. The remarkable Shrine to Mary features magnificent sculptures carved out of Italian marble and reclaimed wood from a ship called the Stella Maris. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is stunningly beautiful with pure white marble offset by columns of Mexican onyx and decorated with 22-carat gold leaf. There are also 39 stained glass windows, some of which are over a century old.
The Cathedral Basilica is a haven of peace and tranquility, worth every minute of your visit there.
Photos by Jim Watkins Photography