The Cathedral of St. Mary
“Who has entered her solemn cathedrals and not heard whisperings from higher worlds?
Her liturgy, her sacred rites, her grave and measured chants;
the dim lights that ever burn in her sanctuaries;
the mystic vestments with which her ministers are clothed;
the incense diffusing a hallowed fragrance through the long, withdrawing aisles;
the bells that morning, noon, and night repeat the Angel's salutation to Mary
and seem to shower blessings from heaven
-- all this speaks to the soul, subdues and softens the heart, until we long to bow the head in prayer.”
John Lancaster Spalding, The Victory of Love, 1900
Welcome to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, the mother church of the Diocese of Peoria. Since its completion in 1889, the Cathedral of St. Mary has been a feature of the skyline of the city of Peoria and the heart of the Diocese of Peoria. The Cathedral is first and foremost a place of encounter with God.
The Cathedral in its representative capacity stands for the whole diocese. It is, in a way, the people's church. Certain official functions take place normally only in the Cathedral: a diocesan synod, the consecration of holy oils on Maundy Thursday and the other Pontifical functions of Holy Week, the consecration of a Bishop, ordination of priests, the Pontifical High Mass on Pentecost, Christmas, and Easter, and other occasional solemn functions. The Cathedral is the visible expression of spiritual and organic diocesan life.
Thursday, August 25, 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Archbishop John Lancaster Spalding, founding bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria. This anniversary also marks the restoration of the historic Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception that began several years ago with exterior repair and is now completed with a magnificent restoration of the interior.
You are encouraged to visit the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception for guided tours and quiet prayer by contacting the Museums of the Diocese.
Through the beauty, art, and history offered throughout the cathedral, and guided by the Holy Spirit, let it be your prayer to walk away with a deeper appreciation of the Catholic faith.