National Shrine

The Cathedral of Saint Paul was designated as the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul by the Vatican and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on March 25, 2009, following a request by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt.

In 2012, the Vatican established a “bond of spiritual affinity” between the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. This means that anyone making a pilgrimage here can enjoy all the spiritual benefits as if they were able to pray at the tomb of the Apostle Paul in Rome. As a sign of this spiritual closeness, the Cathedral has received the gift of a stone taken from the ancient wall surrounding the tomb of Saint Paul.

Tens of thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Saint Paul every year. Over the decades, the Cathedral developed as a catechism in stone and glass by evangelizing through grandeur and beauty. The patron is particularly honored through a series of bronze grills that depict major events in the life of Saint Paul from his conversion to his martyrdom. The Shrine of the Nations, which features patron saints of ethnic groups from Europe who settled the area, serves as a reminder that the work of the Apostle to the Gentiles continues through every age.

Timeline

1680
French missionary Father Louis Hennepin is abducted by Native Americans and uses this providential “opportunity” to be the first to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Minnesota.
 
1839
Bishop Mathias Loras, seminary classmate of Saint John Vianney, celebrates the first Mass in the region.
 
1840
Father Lucien Galtier arrives in the frontier settlement of “Pig’s Eye” to establish a permanent Christian community in the upper Mississippi River valley.
 
1841
Father Galtier oversees the construction of a primitive log chapel dedicated to the great missionary Apostle Paul and succeeds in having the settlement renamed Saint Paul, later designated as the state’s capital city.
 
1850
Blessed Pope Pius IX creates the Diocese of Saint Paul appointing Bishop Joseph Cretin, friend of Saint Peter Chanel, as its first bishop.
 
1907
The cornerstone of the current Cathedral of Saint Paul is blessed by Archbishop John Ireland, beginning the process of building one of the largest cathedrals and greatest monuments of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States.
 
1915
The first Mass in the fourth Cathedral of Saint Paul is celebrated by Archbishop John Ireland on March 28, Palm Sunday.
 
1936
Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, later elected Pope Pius XII, visits the Cathedral of Saint Paul.
 
1941
The Ninth “National Eucharistic Congress” is held in Saint Paul.
 
1958
After more than half a century of construction, Archbishop William Brady solemnly consecrates the great church in a five-hour ceremony.
 
1974
Cathedral of Saint Paul is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
 
1982
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, later elected Pope Benedict XVI, visits the Cathedral of Saint Paul.
 
2008
Pope Benedict XVI opens the jubilee “Year of Saint Paul” in honor of the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of the great apostle—the first time someone other than the Lord Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary is universally honored by the Church in this way.
 
2009
The Vatican and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops designates the Cathedral of Saint Paul as the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul, following a request by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt.
 
2012
The Vatican establishes a “bond of spiritual affinity” between the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. As a sign of this spiritual closeness, the Cathedral receives the gift of a stone taken from the tomb of Saint Paul.
 
For information about the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul and the Cathedral of Saint Paul, or to learn more about the Cathedral Heritage Foundation and how you can participate in the preservation of this great monument of faith, contact:
 
Cathedral of Saint Paul
National Shrine of the Apostle Paul
239 Selby Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102
Phone: 651.228.1766