The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen stands as one of the most impressive cathedrals in the world. Thomas J. O’Neill left a bequest to the Church for the construction of a new cathedral that totaled $20 million. The Church of Baltimore selected three well-known architects, Maginnis, Walsh and Kennedy of Boston, had each design a sketch, traditional, modified and modern. Of these designs a modified Gothic design was chosen.
Construction lasted five years for the massive structure. Ground was broken on October 10, 1954 on a twenty-five acre lot on North Charles Street and the dedication of the new cathedral took place on November 15, 1959
The new cathedral was astounding in its size. Built to seat 1900 people, the Cathedral is 373 feet long (41 feet longer than St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City), 132 feet wide and 163 feet to the top of the spires. No structural steel was used for support. Over 3 million bricks and 70,000 pieces of Indiana limestone were used for the interior and exterior facing. Additionally, there are over 385 sculptures and 398 panels of stained glass in the nave. There are also four side chapels dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, St. Joseph, Our Lady and St. Thomas More (patron saint of the benefactor, Thomas O’Neill).
The new church is called the cathedral because it houses the “throne” of the Archbishop. The Cathedral, together with the Basilica, serve as one of the two main centers of liturgical life for the Church of Baltimore. This makes Baltimore one of only a handful of dioceses in the entire United States having more than one cathedral.
Source: Photograph at top right and text courtesy of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. Black and white photograph property of the Archdiocese of Baltimore Archives.