St. Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco

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.
In 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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St. Mary's Cathedral Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
136 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • I'm not a member of this church but my daughter went to high school at Sacred Heart located on the block which holds their graduation service here. I had driven by the place daily for many years until...  more »
  • What a huge cathedral thus is! Outside and including the grounds it takes up an incredible amount of space- especially for San Francisco. It’s beautiful inside with ornate carvings. Stained Glass, a h...  more »
  • We all think this big cathedral looks like the inside of an old Maytag washing machine. It is not elegant. It's big and serves a lot of church members. I won't go there.  more »
Google
  • Interesting place to visit. The architecture and mini chapels around the perimeter were interesting. The concrete architecture and massive supports did create a intriguing center ceiling to look up into but also conved a distant feel to the space.
  • Well worth it. The filtering and use of light is amazing. Too bad we saw this Monday that they have Sunday organ concerts. Apparently the acoustics are amazing. Next time ...
  • It was awesome. We were the only ones there and a lady was playing some chords on the organ. Then after a while she moved to the baby grand and with another lady on the violin the rehearsed some classical pieces! It was celestial!
  • This is a modern architectural masterpiece. Mesmerized by the light and colors inside that cannot be fully captured in any photographs.
  • I did not have the chance to enter the cathedral... The outside is beautiful and the architecture of the building is original enough to be pointed out. It is immense and modern, and is based on symbolic pillars such as the cross as the main structure. I think it may be worth wandering a few moments around it to spot out the best shots of it.
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