St. Joseph Old Cathedral (Oklahoma City)
St. Joseph Old Cathedral is a parish church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City is a particular church of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in the midwestern region of the United States. Its ecclesiastical territory includes 46 counties in western Oklahoma. The Most Reverend Paul Stagg Coakley is the current archbishop...

 located in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is the capital and the largest city in the state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 31st among United States cities in population. The city's population, from the 2010 census, was 579,999, with a metro-area population of 1,252,987 . In 2010, the Oklahoma...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It was the seat of the Diocese of Oklahoma City from 1905-1931, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 1978. The church building was severely damaged during the Oklahoma City bombing
Oklahoma City bombing
The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19...

 in 1995.


The Rev. Nicolas F. Scallon arrived in Oklahoma City on April 22, 1889. He was the first priest to serve in the recently formed town. He located other Catholic settlers and looked for a place to celebrate Mass. For the most part in those early days Mass was celebrated in a tent that normally functioned as McGinley's General Store. Less than two weeks later three lots were purchased for $225. Construction on a church building that measured 24 by 40 feet was begun on July 1, 1889 and was completed a month later. A 650 pound bell was purchased for $101 and the first Mass was celebrated in St. Joseph’s Church on August 4.

By the turn of the 20th century the congregation began to outgrow its wood frame building and plans were made for a larger church. Work began on October 19, 1901 and it was finished the following year. It was dedicated by Bishop Theophile Meerschaert
Theophile Meerschaert
Theophile Meerschaert was a Belgian-born prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Oklahoma in the United States from 1891 until his death in 1924.-Biography:...

 of the Vicariate Apostolic of Indian Territory on December 18, 1904. The church was constructed of Coffeyville brick in the Gothic Revival style. It features a central tower with a spire that is flanked by two shorter towers that are crenellated at the top. The building measures 137 by 64 feet.

The year after the church was dedicated St. Pius X established the Diocese of Oklahoma City on August 23, 1905. St. Joseph’s became the first cathedral in Oklahoma. It served the diocese as its cathedral until 1931 when Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI , born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was Pope from 6 February 1922, and sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 until his death on 10 February 1939...

 named Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church
Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Oklahoma City)
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a Catholic cathedral in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.-History:...

 as the diocesan cathedral. St. Joseph continued to serve the downtown area as a parish church.

St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral was extensively damaged when a bomb exploded at the nearby Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States Federal Government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, including 19 children...

 on April 19, 1995. Most of the stained glass windows
Stained Glass Windows
Stained Glass Windows was an early broadcast television program, broadcast on early Sunday evenings on the ABC network. The program was a religious broadcast, hosted by the Reverend Everett Parker....

 on the east side of the church were shattered, and the pipe organ
Pipe organ
The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each organ pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass...

 was extensively damaged. The explosion raised the roof several inches off its steel pillars and several of the rafters were broken. Plaster fell from the walls and ceiling and the painted, symbolic plaster medallions were destroyed. The church was closed for nearly two years. A statue carved from Italian marble entitled And Jesus Wept was created to commemorate the event and is adjacent to the Oklahoma City National Memorial
Oklahoma City National Memorial
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial in the United States that honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. The memorial is located in downtown Oklahoma City on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal...

. It was dedicated in May 1997 and the church was rededicated on December 1 of the same year.

An interfaith prayer service was held in St. Joseph’s on September 12, 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 and the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

. Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran
Eusebius J. Beltran
Eusebius Joseph Beltran is an American prelate. He was the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City from 1993 until 2010. Before his appointment to Oklahoma City, Beltran was bishop of the Diocese of Tulsa from 1978 to 1992....

said during the service, “This building was rebuilt as a sign of faith and remembrance of those people who were killed at the site of the Murrah Bombing. We gather here today to mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters in New York City and in Washington, D.C.”

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.