Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives St. Mary’s Cathedral remains a ‘beacon of hope’

November 2, 2022

By Tyler Fitzgerald
Diocese of Ogdensburg seminarian

The crisp and brisk air of an autumn North Country day gave way to sunshine and a warm gentle breeze on the morning of October 22, 1952. Nature seemed to have set the perfect scene for two glorious occasions – the Solemn Consecration of the new Cathedral of Saint Mary and a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving.

The vast granite edifice at the corner of Hamilton and Greene Streets stood as a beacon of faith and hope for the Diocese of Ogdensburg after the devastating loss of the original cathedral five years prior. The quiet streets soon began to fill with the murmur of spectators, who came from all parts of the diocese to celebrate the occasion.

The ceremonies commenced early in the morning at 6:30 with the Rite of Consecration. Bishop Bryan D. McEntegart, fifth bishop of the diocese, assisted by Bishops Joseph Berry and Stephen Donahue, solemnly consecrated the building to the Glory of God. Through the blessing of the walls, inside and out, with Holy Water, tracing the Greek and Latin alphabet on the floor, anointing the altars with Sacred Chrism and sealing in them relics of various saints, the new spiritual home of the diocese was fully set apart as holy ground.

Crowds over-flowed out of the newly consecrated mother church of the diocese into the streets and park opposite the cathedral. Speaker systems and chairs were set up and an estimated 1,500 people made pilgrimage to attend the 11 a.m. Solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated by the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Francis Spellman. A procession of countless clergy and prelates started at St. Mary’s Academy, led by cross and candles, accompanied by hymns and the peal of the new cathedral’s bells. The entourage reached the white chrysanthemum and yellow rose adorned High Altar, where Cardinal Spellman began the Mass.

The liturgy was miraculous; the smell of chrism and incense wafted as the Cathedral Choir provided a repertoire under the direction of Father J. Everett Denesha. Archbishop Richard J. Cushing of Boston preached on cathedrals as Temples of the Living God.

In this ongoing celebration of 150 years of faith in the North Country, and on the seventieth anniversary of the Consecration of St. Mary’s Cathedral, perhaps these words preached by Archbishop Cushing will find a place in our hearts:
“This is a dramatic proof that God’s grace has been at work here in the diocese, but it is a proof no less dramatic that God’s grace has not been wasted. Thanks to that grace and to the cooperation of priests and people with it, Ogdensburg rejoices in the newest and fairest of cathedrals, a proud temple to the glory of God and the honor of the Blessed Mother.” He continued, “St. Mary’s in Ogdensburg is worthy to take its place among the great cathedrals of this country… St. Mary’s will long command the admiration of generations to come for its objective beauty as well as for the goodness of those who have built it.”

While the world of October 22, 1952 may seem at times foreign and unrecognizable, the Diocese of Ogdensburg possesses a beacon of hope for the faithful of the North Country, a beacon whose message has remained the same.

The Gothic Revival landmark on Hamilton Street stands as a symbol of faith, rooted in the love of God which the people of this diocese possess, fostered by love of Mary, the Mother of God, under whose protection we all rest. Six popes, nine bishops, thirteen presidents, and seventy years later, St. Mary’s Cathedral continues to be a splendid, holy place of prayer, where we all find a home. The Diocese of Ogdensburg solemnly rejoiced on that historic day, let us continue this rejoicing and offer praise and thanks to God on this joyous occasion.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.