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Treasures of St. Mary Cathedral

Take a walk through our Mother Church in this photo essay

MIAMI | The Cathedral of St. Mary celebrated its 60th anniversary in January, but its roots reach years earlier. Fourteen people organized the Little River Mission Club in 1929, dedicating a small wooden church three years later.

By 1955, they broke ground for the present structure, which borrows from Spanish Colonial architecture as well as other styles. In 1958, when the Diocese of Miami was created, St. Mary's was chosen as its cathedral.

During the 1960s, the diocese added a bronze bell, a pipe organ, an Italian varicolored marble floor, and a marble cathedra, or bishop's throne. The church can seat up to 1,000 people and soars 12 stories at its bell tower. Two great mahogany doors form the cathedral's main entrance, set in a keystone frame 30 feet high. A concrete dome stands 76 feet above the altar.

Appropriately, the Mother Church is filled with art of the Mother of the Church. The sanctuary has a glass mosaic 11 feet high and 70 feet long, depicting 14 scenes from the life of Mary. Her life is likewise the theme of 14 faceted-glass windows along the sides of the nave. Some of the windows show various apparitions of Mary -- some familiar like Our Lady of Fatima, some lesser known like Our Lady of Beauraing.

Also at St. Mary's is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, with a wall of faceted glass depicting the Annunciation and the Birth of Christ. Pope John Paul II prayed there at the start of his U.S. tour in 1987.

Comments from readers

Tom Valerius - 10/16/2017 05:53 PM
As a student at Archbishop Curley HS when the Cathedral was in the process of opening+Havving had a teacher at AC (Fr. Claude Brubaker, one of the assigned parish priest, who I met while serving/enjoying the chance to be one of the first camp counselor at "Camp Matacumbe", nka "Boystown of S. Fla.". The camp provided day care to the incoming Cuban kids who moved into the down town Miami area, (St. John Bosco parish),. Additionally my mother was an RN at N. Shore Hospital and got me at summer orderly job where among other things, I learned to use a floor buffer. With that skill, I was asked by Fr. Brubaker to buff the Catherdral's main altar's floor - in preparation to it's opening. Did so - not bragging - but I will be there to see how the floor is holding up? Thanks God, for all of it - Curley, Matacumbe, Mom, N. Shore,.. so many past and present things - God, I owe you BIG TIME! I'll be at the cathedral - with your love and help. Tom F. Valerius/AC'58,Teacher, Lawyer, Husband, Father and Grandpa who you allowed to know how to use a buffer!
Jim Davis - 10/11/2017 11:59 AM
That's a great idea, Mr. Kramer. We'll look into it and run another photo essay in the future.
Michael Kramer - 10/11/2017 10:11 AM
Can I make a request? Can the Archdiocese post historical photos of the Cathedral? I've seen so many historical photos of so many Cathedrals, but Miami's seems next to impossible to locate. Perhaps some from the dedication by Archbishop Carroll? Or just some from the 50's or 60's?

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