Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Connecticut was part of the Dioceses of Boston until 1843, when Pope Pius VIII split Rhode Island and Connecticut off into a separate diocese. Since more Catholics lived in Rhode Island than Connecticut, the bishop chose Providence as his residence. As the number of Catholics in these two territories grew, the diocese was again split in 1872, and the bishop then moved his residence to Hartford.
Land was purchased on Farmington Avenue to build a cathedral and a convent for the Sisters of Mercy. Builders broke ground on August 30, 1876, and 13 years later, on May 8, 1892, the bishop consecrated the Cathedral. Renowned architect Patrick C. Keely designed the Cathedral, which reached 90 feet in height, 268 feet in length, 178 feet in width, and could hold 2000 worshippers. The sacristy provided a crypt where deceased bishops of the diocese were to be buried.
In 1938, it was discovered that soil conditions threatened the integrity of the foundation, and so the Cathedral began a series of restoration and refurbishment projects, which were completed in time for Christmas 1939.
Just 17 years later, on December 31, 1956, a fire broke out and destroyed the entire building. Eggers and Higgins of New York were selected as architects of the new Cathedral, which would have a contemporary design with traditional elements. Construction began in 1957 and in 1962, Auxiliary Bishop John F. Hackett consecrated the completed structure, whose footprint is 284 feet long, 156 feet wide, and 281 feet high from the sidewalk to the top of the cross on the great tower. An important feature on the inside was the elimination of poles that would ensure an unobstructed view of the altar and sanctuary for all 1750 worshippers seated in the main area. This is the Cathedral we all know today as the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Before visiting the Cathedral, please visit its website to learn about Mass times, visiting procedures, hours, restrictions, and so forth. Click here for directions from Madison.