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Together in Faith

Original design of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, as envisioned by Edward Underwood, architect, ca. 1920. Archdiocese Archives Photograph Collection. ARCAE-P-795.

St. Joseph’s Basilica is a very special church with humble beginnings. It is the heart of the Archdiocese, the seat of our Archbishop, and the center of archdiocesan liturgies, events, and celebrations. St. Joseph’s Basilica was established as a parish on January 30, 1914 in order to serve the growing Anglophone population living in Central Edmonton. In September of 1923, Archbishop O’Leary announced his plans to designate St. Joseph’s Parish as the Cathedral Parish for Edmonton. Six lots were purchased on Block 13 of the Hudson’s Bay Reserve, and construction began in June of 1924. On March 22, 1925 Archbishop Henry Joseph O’Leary blessed the crypt church and dedicated it to St. Joseph.

At the time, it was the largest church in Edmonton, but due to the financial hardships of the Depression and Second World War years, the crypt would remain the place of worship for the cathedral parish for more than three decades.

In 1960, after years of fundraising across the Archdiocese, construction began on the superstructure of the Cathedral and the upper edifice was finally completed, though not to the grandeur of the original design. The transformation was complete when Archbishop Anthony Jordan consecrated and dedicated the new cathedral on May 1, 1963, on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

In anticipation of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Edmonton, St. Joseph’s Cathedral was granted the title of “Minor Basilica” on March 15, 1984. On Sunday, September 17, 1984 Pope John Paul II presided over an evening ecumenical prayer service at the Basilica during his visit to Edmonton.

Together in Faith Photograph Gallery