POINT 23 | La ligne bleue | #HamiltonVilleAccueillante
ST. MARY’S PARISH | 23 Sheaffe St, Hamilton
A $4M renovation for Portuguese and English Masses.
"Also known as the Paróquia de Santa Maria, this 1860 cathedral is in the final stages of a $4M renovation to better serve Masses in Portuguese and English."
Replacement of the huge roof, installation of a new electrical system, restoration of artwork. Repairing the bricks. We understand that it was worth millions.
If the masons are still at work when you visit, you will see that they have built a wall ABOVE the original bricks of the cathedral, painting the seams white. A less expensive way to restore.
Inside (which can only be visited on Sundays), there is still the magnificent original white altar and the beautiful stained-glass windows. However, everything had to be repainted, successfully trying to preserve the old appearance. If you take a closer look, you will notice that the large painting to the left of the altar, which fits perfectly into the decor, was created in 2022 by the same woman who restored the other works.
BEHIND THE SCENES
You will have noticed the beautiful mosaic on the front of the neighbouring Roman Catholic Slavic church of Sts Cyril & Methodius (204 Park St N). More than 200 Slovak families attended it in the 1960s. A crucifix from Slovakia, once erected high up, is a reminder of the impact of Father E. G. Fuzy, who officiated for years in this community.
When this church closed a few years ago, St. Mary's salvaged the beautiful carved plaques of the 14 Stations of the Cross and several pews to dress up its small adjoining chapel. So all is not lost.
When the heating system was to be installed by digging in the basement of the new cathedral, the discovery of numerous bones reminded the community that in 1838, the land on which St. Mary's stands was Hamilton's first Catholic cemetery.
FOR THE CURIOUS
Church, cathedral, pro-cathedral, basilica... A bit hard to find your way around, isn't it? Cathedral comes from the word "cathedra", which is the liturgical throne reserved for a bishop. A cathedral is therefore a church recognized by the pope as the main church of a diocese, where the bishop's seat is located.
The original St. Mary's Church, built in 1838, acquired cathedral status before the fire that destroyed it in 1859. The community immediately rebuilt it into its present form. In 1933, it became a pro-cathedral (temporary cathedral) when the Cathedral of Christ the King (714 King St W) became the main church of the Diocese of Hamilton.
In 2013, it became the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King when it was granted minor basilica status by Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of its importance to the diocese.
TO POINT 24...
(Distance = 140 metres)
Continue south on Park St N and turn east to 56 Mulberry St.