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St. Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco

4.2
#17 of 37 in Historic Sites in San Francisco
Religious Site Tourist Spot
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, also known locally as Saint Mary's Cathedral, is the principal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco in San Francisco, California. It is the mother church of the Catholic faithful in the California counties of Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo and is the metropolitan cathedral for the Ecclesiastical province of San Francisco. The rector of the cathedral is Msgr. John Talesfore.The cathedral is located in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The present cathedral replaced one (1891-1962) of the same name. The original Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception was built in 1853-1854 and still stands today. It is now known as Old Saint Mary's Church.Second cathedralIn 1883, Archbishop Patrick W. Riordan purchased the northwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and O'Farrell Street in Western Addition. Riordan broke ground in December 1885. On May 1, 1887 the archbishop placed the cornerstone. Archbishop Riordan dedicated the edifice to Saint Mary of the Assumption on January 11, 1891. The second cathedral served the Archdiocese of San Francisco for seventy-one years. During the episcopal terms of archbishops Riordan, Edward J. Hanna and John J. Mitty. Papal Secretary of State Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, (future Pope Pius XII) said Mass at the high altar in October 1936. On April 3, 1962, Joseph T. McGucken was installed as the fifth Archbishop of San Francisco in the cathedral on Van Ness Avenue, five months later the landmark was destroyed by arson on the night of September 7, 1962.
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3.9
  • One of the most spectacular buildings in the world in my view. I was fortunate to discover this Building a week or two before i was scheduled to visit San Francisco on the Holiday of a Lifetime with m...  more »
  • Amazing house of prayer, dub "Our Lady Of Maytag" By Herb Coen for it's design. But it's a beautiful big church with big open spaces for prayer. I find that a service here can feel in personal because...  more »
  • This hideous building looks like the inside of a washing machine. It's really ugly, one of San Francisco's least loved buildings. And it sits on a cold wind-swept open square. Avoid it.  more »
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  • Stunning and architecturally overwhelming. A moderninst masterpiece that is breathtaking to partake of. Sitting inside you can gaze at the high ceilings with stained glass in them as skylights. The poured concrete vibe may not be for everyone, but the lack of interior columns create a huge openness and good acoustics for chorales and singing. Open daily for visits from the general public.
  • On Easter Sunday we went to the church to see a concert that was supposed to start at 4pm (we arrived at 3:15pm). We were greeted by rude church employees did not let us enter the church (or even stand near the doors) due to a VIP baptism. Church personnel made a large group of us wait outside in the cold rain (not even giving us a corner inside the church to wait were its at least dry). After almost an hour waiting outside, we decided to give up and go elsewhere. We never expected such horrible treatment from a church of this magnitude. Don't come to this church! Personnel is extremely rude and apparently they care more about closing the church for big spenders than spreading the word of God on Easter day to the masses. Also, VIP events should be scheduled so it does not conflict with church schedule. Read the other comments! This seems to be a recurring issue!
  • Second time I have been here for an event and the church is nice although I haven't been to any services here yet.
  • Spreading water on the homeless! Are you kidding me? That water could be used for something cool, like soup. Bad church, makes me very ill. Chili dogs were good though so they get a star.
  • I went here several times requesting for holy water and was greeted by the same lady whose the gate keeper of God's water. She returned with a small container. When I asked for more, she insisted that this is all that is offered. There is a suggested donation of $5 each time for this request. Is this me or is it a bit much to pay for God's water? This whole experience has been distasteful.