St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne

1 Cathedral Pl, East Melbourne, Viktorija, Avstralija

Website of the Sanctuary

03 9662 2233

Every day: from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm

St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne

St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne is the mother church of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. The Centenary of its official opening and Consecration was marked in 1997; however, the first Mass was celebrated on the site in February 1858 in a former partially completed church, some of which was incorporated into the south aisle of the present building.

By 1868, the completed nave of the Cathedral first served the needs of the community for regular worship and prayer. Designed by William Wardell, St Patrick’s is regarded internationally as the finest ecclesiastical building in Australia and a pre-eminent example of the Gothic Revival style. The austere facade gives little hint of the glorious interior with its ethereal golden light of mesmerising beauty.

St Patrick's Cathedral Melbourne

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St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne highly regarded organ and exceptional acoustics ensure its popularity with leading musicians and choral groups, as a favoured setting for concerts of sacred music. The splendid ambulatory and chapels, which partially encircle the sanctuary, provide space for occasional exhibitions. Nevertheless, it is the spiritual fire of prayer and daily worship which gives the building its heart, ensuring that it is more than just an architectural monument.

The Cathedral is a place of beauty and peace. During the course of a year, the St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne is the environment for the major liturgies of the Catholic community as well as the venue for significant civic celebrations embracing the wider community.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The staff are also responsible for the daily pastoral care in all of the nearby hospitals; many people from the wider community seek solace and help within its walls. Through prayer, praise and creative liturgical celebrations, the elements of stone and glass, artistry, craftsmanship, colour and sound, coalesce to filter the divine presence of our Creator God.

Patron Saints – St Brigid

Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd or Bride) (Irish: Naomh Bhríde) (c. 451 – 525) was an Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several convents who is venerated as a saint. She is considered one of Ireland’s patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba. Her feast day is February 1, the traditional first day of spring in Ireland.

Patron Saints – St Patrick

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius, Irish: Naomh Pádraig) was a Roman Britain-born Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family.

He entered the church, as his father and grandfather had before him, becoming a deacon and a bishop. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he worked and no link can be made between Patrick and any church.

By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick and the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and the other early missionaries had tried to establish.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

St Patrick’s Pilgrim Path

by Fr Gerard Dowling – Dean Emeritus of St Patrick’s Cathedral
Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which stands majestically on Eastern Hill, has long established itself as a church edifice of superb grandeur and arguably one of the truly significant cathedrals of the world. From its consecration in 1897 to its ultimate completion in 1939 by the erection of its triple spires, it provides a continued act of adoration in stone and offers a superb setting of liturgical worship for the people of the archdiocese.

Those of us who have had the wonderful opportunity of visiting some of the great cathedrals of the world will be only too well aware that each one is individualised not merely by its particular design, but by the unique setting in which it stands. For instance, spread out before Rome’s mighty Basilica of St Peter is its superb piazza, surrounded by Bernini’s elliptical colonnades. For the much celebrated Cathedral of Chartres, in France, with its breathtaking collection of priceless stained glass windows, it is its rural surrounds from which it rises in stark solitude flanked by hectares of wheat fields through which pilgrims have long approached it. Until the 1950s, St Patrick”s, our much loved and highly regarded example of Gothic revival, dominated Melbourne”s skyline. However, since then its position of eminence has been crowded out by a proliferation of skyscrapers, and consequently has lost its position of eminence in recent decades.

During the year of the Great Jubilee (2000) this Cathedral, that was accorded the title “Minor Basilica” following the international Eucharistic Congress in this city in 1973, has acquired new surrounds that will surely become a setting of international renown. However St Patrick’s Pilgrim Path, as it is formally known, is not merely an architectural masterpiece. Much more than that, it has the capacity of evoking a genuine spiritual response by an individual believer or a group of pilgrims who choose to use this southern approach to the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Conceived by our own Archbishop George Pell, in the light of his travels in Europe, it provides the visitor with a clear-cut perspective, created by Green and Dale Landscape Architects. Its central concept is that of flowing water, the Scriptures’ multifaceted depiction of God’s abundant life in us. The water cascades down the channel that divides the two sides of the stepped pathways that progress up the incline. The visitor is challenged by the salutary selection of quotations cut with gold inlays into a number of blue stone structures that are continually cleansed by additional out-pouring of invigorating water. The first of these inscriptions to be encountered is a cry from the heart of one of Australia”s great poets, James McAuley. This is its provocative message that challenges the seeker at the outset.

Incarnate Word,
in whom all nature lives,
Cast flame upon the earth:
raise up contemplatives
Among us, men who
walk within the fire
of ceaseless prayer
impetuous desire.
Set pools of silence
In this thirsty land
James McAuley 1917 – 1976 © Copyright Norma McAuley

Two pointed further messages punctuate the pilgrim’s progress towards to the top. The first is from the pen of “the Disciple whom Jesus loved”, who quotes his Divine Master: that I shall give will never be thirsty again. Anyone who drinks the water
Gospel of John 4.14
1st Century AD

The second is derived from the much cherished Psalm 23:
The Lord leads me by quiet
waters to revive my
drooping spirit.
Psalms of David 23 (22): 2-3
10th Century BC

The relevance of both these inspired passages needs no embellishment from me; they just challenge the person participating to relate them to life”s situations. Surmounting the summit is a giant bronze bowl that is the origin of the water supply, and from it contains a submerged image of “The lamb”. From it water cascades in three directions onto the seven stepped structure below, reminiscent of the sacramental signs of Jesus” presence, that are abundantly available to us.

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Around the bowl”s rim are appropriately inscribed versus from the Book of Apocalypse, which concludes the Bible:
The angel showed me a river
whose waters give life,
it flows as clear as crystal
from the throne of God and
of the Lamb.
Apocalypse 22:1
1st Century AD

Encompassing the open area at the top of Saint Patrick”s Pilgrim Path, where visitors may choose to regroup before making their final journey to the Cathedral”s Great West Doors, there are two superbly crafted statues in bronze. Sculptured by Louis Lauman, a Melbourne based artist, who spent some considerable time studying the characters and spirituality of these saints before starting his creative work, they stimulate the bystander to reflect on the contribution of these giants of the faith.

The art critic for the Herald Sun described him as such: “Known for his extraordinary talent in moulding textiles, Laumen”s work shows the discipline of a classical sculptor combined with the creative inspiration of a contemporary artist”. These magnificent figures depict, with dramatic freshness, the patron saints of Italy, St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226) and St Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380), identifying them with he sufferings of Jesus, he with the stigmata of Jesus” wounds, and she with the crown of thorns, penetrating the palms of her hands.

Blessed and dedicated by Archbishop Pell on 17th December, 2000 in the presence of the Governor of Victoria, Sir James Gobbo, and his wife, Lady Gobbo, they were unveiled by third generation Italian/Australian families – the first by the La Terra and D”Andrea families from St. Francis of Assisi”s, Mill Park, and the second by the Di Mauro Family from St Catherine”s, West Melton. This choice was appropriate since these statues commemorate the particular contribution to the life of the diocese and to our Australian culture by those whose origin is derived from Italy.

This entirely captivating pilgrim path, which is unique to St Patrick”s, will obviously draw people to worship and will be much photographed by worshippers and tourists, who visit this site. That, however, is merely the human perspective. Just as the Cathedral”s magnificent spires have reached heaven wards, since their completion in 1939 to commemorate the centenary of the first Mass offered in Melbourne, it is hoped that those who journey to this fine edifice will go away spiritually enriched by their experience of its pilgrim path and the prayerful atmosphere, too, of its majestic interior.

Some day, you might decide to take the opportunity to walk St Patrick”s Pilgrim Path, too, beginning at the open area in front of the Cathedral Presbytery, and reflecting on that challenging McAuley message. Then, taking plenty of time, and moving at your pace, you might care too proceed up the steps, stopping at the biblical quotes I”ve mentioned, and possibly utilising, as well, the strategically placed seating provided for you to rest awhile in the light of what you have just read.
Having reached the top, you can then take your stand behind the Apocalypse bowl, and allow yourself to be supported by the presence of St Catherine and St Francis. You can then look back down the concourse of water to the point of which you stand and reflect on the years of your life with aspirations of thanksgiving, repentance and renewal of spirit. You can then make your way around to the Cathedral”s main entrance, and enter its interior to kneel in Jesus” Eucharistic presence, and to allow yourself to be warmed by his personal love for you. I”m sure you”ll go away refreshed, as you slowly retrace your steps and return to the challenges and the people in your life that still await your refreshed presence.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Melbourne Airport (IATA: MEL, ICAO: YMML), also known as Tullamarine Airport, is the primary airport serving the city of Melbourne.

Most visitors base themselves in the city centre, the buzzing commercial heart of Melbourne that’s also home to museums, theatres, restaurants, bars and shops. Melbourne’s grid layout makes it an easy city to navigate, with most attractions within walking distance. Transport options include train, tram, bus or bike. The Night Network also operates on weekends with after hours transport to many locations.

myki cards
myki is Melbourne’s ticket to travel on the city’s trains, trams and buses. It’s a plastic smartcard with stored value which can be topped up and re-used again. Purchase your myki online at the PTV website, premium train stations, retail outlets displaying the myki sign (including 7-Elevens), or by calling 1800 800 007 (free from a land line) in Australia.

Visitor packs
For flexible travel, buy a myki Visitor Pack from Melbourne Visitor Centre, Federation Square, the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station (corner Swanston and Little Collins streets), SkyBus terminals and some hotels. Packs include a pre-loaded myki card with enough value for one day of travel in Zone 1 and 2, instructions on how to use myki, a Melbourne tram map and discount entry to Melbourne attractions.

Melbourne’s metro trains run between the outer suburbs and Flinders Street Station in the city. The city loop is Melbourne’s underground system, with five stations in the central business district: Southern Cross Station, Flagstaff (closed weekends), Melbourne Central, Parliament and Flinders Street. Southern Cross Station is Melbourne’s hub for regional and interstate trains. Plan your trip with Public Transport Victoria’s journey planner.

Passengers can board trams at signposted stops displaying maps, route numbers and a timetable. Route numbers are also displayed on the front of the tram. Travel within the central area of Melbourne by tram is free, though you will need a myki card if you plan to start or finish your journey outside of this central area. For more information on the area covered by the Free Tram Zone and a downloadable map, go to the Public Transport Victoria website.

Melbourne buses run frequently to major hubs, including shopping centres, schools, hospitals, leisure and sports venues, and some of Melbourne’s biggest attractions. For people travelling further afield, Victoria’s V/Line service gives access to regional towns and scenic attractions across the state.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Sunday Mass

  • Saturday 6.00pm Vigil
  • 8.00am, 9.30am, 11.00am (Solemn Mass), 6.30pm

Weekday Mass

  • Mondays: 7.00am, 1.00pm
  • Tuesdays: 7.00am, 8.00am, 1.00pm
  • Wednesdays: 7.00am, 8.00am, 1.00pm
  • Thursdays: 7.00am, 8.00am, 1.00pm
  • Fridays: 7.00am, 8.00am, 1.00pm
  • Saturdays: 8.00am, 6.00pm


Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

The Sacrament of Reconciliation at St Patrick’s Cathedral is in English and is available on weekdays from Tuesday – Friday from 12pm prior to the 1.00pm daily Mass. On weekends Reconciliation is available on Saturday at 8.30am and 5:30pm or by appointment.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

The Life and Times of a Cathedral: Foundation to Restoration: 1858-1996

By T.A. Hazell
The Diocese of Melbourne was created, as a suffragan see of the Archdiocese of Sydney, by Pope Pius IX on 26 June, 1847. Father James Alipius Goold, an Augustinian priest who was in charge of the District of Campbelltown, just out of Sydney, was appointed the first Bishop of the new diocese on 9 July, 1847. The sesquicentenary of these two events is being commemorated, also, in this centenary year of the consecration of St Patrick’s Cathedral (1897). The first Bishop and, later, the first Metropolitan Archbishop of Melbourne was an Irishman from County Cork who had studied for the priesthood at Augustinian monasteries in Perugia and Viterbo, in the Papal States, and who knew the City of Rome. He was also a fluent Italian speaker and this was to stand him well in his dealings for the Church of Melbourne with the Roman curia.

James Goold was well educated, in accordance with the standards of his time, and had an appreciation of art and architecture. His rule of the Melbourne church for almost 40 years has been described as somewhat autocratic, but nothing else could really have been expected of a colonial bishop, at the far end of the earth, who was clearly setting out to establish something tangible and intangible, something which he knew would last until the end of time.

The consecration of James Alipius Goold as Bishop of Melbourne was delayed considerably, due to the difficulties of bringing together co-consecrators with the Archbishop of Sydney, John Bede Polding, an English Benedictine monk who had ruled the Australian church since 1834. Eventually it took place in the old Pugin- designed St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. The symbols of office of the new Bishop, the mitre and pastoral staff bestowed on him by Archbishop Polding, are carefully preserved in the diocesan museum which bears the name of the first Bishop of Melbourne.

Soon after the consecration, Bishop Goold set out for his new diocese in an epic journey, overland, in his own carriage. He was the first person to undertake such a journey. He seemed to know he was making history and his diary records the exact time that he crossed the River Murray and entered the territory of his spiritual jurisdiction. Father Patrick Bonaventure Geoghegan, the Franciscan friar who had been in charge of the church in Melbourne since 1839, met the new Bishop in Seymour with a cavalcade of some dozens of horsemen and more than fifty carriages. Meanwhile, the Catholics of Melbourne assembled at what is now the corner of Swanston and Franklin Streets. In mid-afternoon on 4 October, 1848, Bishop Goold arrived in his city and made an immediate impression on the crowd with his youthful and agile appearance and by the fact that he leapt from the carriage to greet them. They escorted him in procession to St Francis’ Church, one of the most impressive buildings in the young settlement. By a happy co-incidence, it was also the Feast of St Francis.

On the Sunday after his arrival, James Alipius Goold was formally enthroned as Bishop of Melbourne in St Francis’ Church and presented to the people by Father Geoghegan, as the first Bishop of Australia Felix. St Francis’ Church then assumed the dignity of a cathedral, a position it was to hold for the next two decades. In true Roman style, the Bishop’s Coat-of-Arms was placed, in stone, over the main entrance and painted in heraldic colours upon the ceiling of the sanctuary. Both of these relics of Francis’ glory as the Cathedral Church of Melbourne are still to be seen today. But it was really a short-lived glory, for it must have soon become apparent to Bishop Goold that it would not be suitable, neither in size nor in splendour, for what he had in mind for his cathedral.

With the discovery of gold and the almost simultaneous granting of independence from New South Wales in 1851, the new State of Victoria rapidly assumed an importance unimaginable only a few years previously. It is fair enough to say that Goold’s vision of the future was extraordinarily grand. Land had been granted by the Government for a church building and school on the present site of the Cathedral in East Melbourne. This was done, not without opposition but achieved with the intervention of Superintendent Charles Joseph La Trobe. There is a somewhat confused history of building attempts on the Eastern Hill site. More than likely, a temporary weatherboard structure would have been erected first. Then Samuel Jackson produced plans for a church which, in all probability, was not commenced. Next in order of succession, came plans from the firm of George and Schneider. Of these plans, a fragment of an aisle was built together with the first section of a tower and main entrance. It is not difficult to appreciate the frustration of the community at what was described as the annual knocking down and rebuilding of St Patrick’s. To make matters worse, building was forced to come to a standstill with the departure for the gold diggings of almost every able-bodied man in the colony. Thus the situation remained through the interesting but troubled first eight years of the life of the new colony.

A heaven-sent opportunity presented itself in the latter half of 1858, with the arrival in Melbourne of a very distinguished architect and devout Catholic, William Wilkinson Wardell. He was thirty-five years old when he set foot in Melbourne and can really be said to have left England at the peak of a very successful career. A disciple of Augustus Welby Pugin, the most significant architect of the Gothic Revival movement, and a member of the intellectual and artistic circle around the Earl of Shrewsbury, Wardell had very impressive credentials. He brought with him many references from the hierarchy and laity of the British Isles and the plans for most of the many churches and other buildings erected to his designs in England over a period of some fifteen years of a flourishing architectural practice. Bishop Goold and his Vicar-General, Dr John Fitzpatrick, may well have known of Wardell’s impending arrival, for they express no surprise when they learn that he is in Melbourne, but only record some impatience at his delay in getting in touch with them.

From here on events moved with extraordinary rapidity and, within a very short time, William Wardell produced plans for a magnificent Cathedral of immense proportions. It was, in fact, greater than anything attempted by English and Irish Catholics in their home countries and it is also the largest church to be built anywhere in the world, as a single entity, entirely within the 19th century. In the U.S.A., only the Cathedral of New York, it too dedicated to St Patrick and commenced at much the same time but brought to completion only in this century, comes close to rivalling it.

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The construction of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne was to occupy Wardell, by now also appointed inspector General of Public Works for the Government of Victoria, with the right of private practice, for the rest of his life. He was present at its consecration in 1897 and was working on plans for areas of the building not quite completed when he died two years later. In summing up his career, the writer of the obituary in the London Tablet compares him to Pugin and suggests that he excelled perhaps even more at adapting the architectural style of England’s Catholic past to meeting the requirements of modern times. Perhaps more than in anything else, this is where Wardell’s genius is most apparent. The Melbourne Cathedral, whilst fulfilling all the requirements of medieval church architecture, as interpreted by the masters of the Gothic Revival, presents a timeless quality, such as befits a building intended for all time.

The fact that Wardell produced the plans for St Patrick’s Cathedral almost immediately is all the more remarkable when it is considered that he seems to have been his own draughtsman. There would have been no doubt that it would be a building in the “Gothic” or “Christian” style of architecture, but the scale of the project must have occasioned comment and concern in the small and poor community for which it was intended. The only requirement imposed upon the architect was that it should incorporate as much as possible of the existing George and Schneider church building.

No ceremony seems to have marked the beginning of building operations late in 1858 – perhaps the Bishop did not relish attention being drawn to a site where at least two attempts to erect a church building had already been made. Be that as it may, work proceeded rapidly and the community soon supported the great project. It should be remembered that the total Catholic population of Victoria at the time numbered just over 77,000 persons, or about one quarter of the population of the State as a whole.

St Patrick’s Cathedral is planned as closely as possible upon a traditional east-west axis, that is, with the altar at the eastern end symbolising belief in the resurrection of Christ. Like nearly all great cathedrals, the plan is cruciform, in the style of a Latin cross, consisting of a nave with side aisles, transepts with the fairly unusual arrangement of side aisles, a sanctuary with seven chapels arranged in a chevet around it, and sacristies. A cloister was intended to link the Cathedral to a palace for the Bishop, to be erected along the Albert Street frontage and incorporating existing buildings on the site. Ground plans survive for this complex which would doubtless have been erected in the Gothic style of architecture.

The main dimensions of the Cathedral are: total length, 340′ (103.6m): total length across transepts, 185′ (56.38m); width across nave and aisles and across transept and aisles, 83′ (25.29m). Internally, the length of the original sanctuary is 68′ (20.72m) and there are four chapels each 22′ x 17′ (6.7m x 5.18m) and two each 27′ x 22′ (8.23m x 6.7m). The height of the nave and transepts is 95′ (28.95m). The exterior was meant to be crowned with a central tower and spire rising to 260′ (79.25m) and the flanking towers and spires of the front of the building were intended to be 203′ (61.87m) each. The heights of all three spires and of the central tower were considerably increased in the 1930s when the time was opportune to complete the building.

It was the architect’s intention that the Cathedral should be erected in two stages: the nave and its aisles as soon as possible, with work then proceeding on the realisation of the remainder of the building. Consequently, and in keeping with medieval tradition, there is a change in style between the two clearly defined construction projects. The nave is in the architectural style known as “Early English”, whilst the rest of the building is in that known as “Geometric Decorated” of some two centuries later in the development of Gothic style architecture.

“Early English” style Gothic architecture is comparatively simple and has minimal ornamentation, so, although the construction of the nave was a mighty undertaking for a small community, it was not as costly as it might have been, had the “Geometric Decorated” style been used all the way through the project. In keeping with medieval tradition, the stone used is local thus associating the building with the earth from which it rises. As well and also in keeping with tradition, the Cathedral sits almost on the ground, further emphasising the relationship with the surroundings. The original West Door was very simple indeed. it was, in fact, a double doorway, symbolic of the dual nature of Christ, both human and divine. Wardell’s intention with the symbolism expressed in the West Door was not entirely appreciated: eventually, it was changed to a single door: later still, there is evidence that he was considering a further enlargement. In the alterations of the late 1930s, it was rebuilt in the present form which would almost certainly have not met with Wardell’s approval.

The nave was completed within ten years, in itself a most remarkable building achievement. Wardell’s collaborator in the project was Dr John Fitzpatrick, Vicar-General of the Diocese and Dean of the Cathedral, who was also responsible for raising the funds. A man of true piety and scholarship, he had a deep appreciation of Gothic style architecture. It might well be said that he supervised the placement of almost every stone of the structure. Of equal importance was John Denny, a builder who had worked for Pugin at Alton Towers and who had erected the most magnificent of the Pugin churches, St Giles at Cheadle. Denny was indispensable in the Wardell plan, as he acted as the supervising architect for the Cathedral and for other churches being erected in the Diocese.

During the decade of the 1860s, parish life began at St Patrick’s and societies and sodalities, so much a feature of 19th century religious life, were founded. It is not clear when Bishop Goold moved his Cathedral seat to St Patrick’s as many important occasions continued to be celebrated at St Francis’ which maintained an episcopal throne well into this century. Meanwhile, the building programme continued on the second stage of St Patrick’s. Occasionally, it almost ground to a halt, so grim was the financial situation. But always in the background were Dean Fitzpatrick with his constant exhortation: “it is God’s work, it cannot be stopped” and William Wardell with his insistence on perfection in what was to be “a building for all time, for generations yet unborn”. Through the whole period, there runs the passionate belief of the Victorian era and the anxiety to get things done as quickly as possible. Soon too, the so-called “Marvellous Melbourne” began to be fascinated by the great structure rising on the Eastern Hill. It is no exaggeration to say that the whole community saw it as an admirable civic project.

From time to time, great ceremonies marked the completion of sections of the building. Most of the columns were erected by individual communities and this generosity was marked by the blessing of the capitals. The western window depicting the glory of the Ascension into Heaven was erected as a memorial to Father Geoghegan, whose features, in true medieval tradition, were shown as those of St John.

The central tower was completed, up to its first stage, as a memorial to Bishop Goold’s escaping an assassination attempt in Brighton. Finally, the body of James Alipius Goold was laid to rest in the uncompleted chapel of the Holy Souls. He did not live to see his cathedral completed, but enough had been done to indicate what it would be like. Within a few years, he was joined in death by his Vicar-General and friend, Dean John Fitzpatrick who, likewise, was denied the opportunity of seeing the completed St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The new Archbishop, for Melbourne had been elevated into an archiepiscopal see in 1874, was Thomas Joseph Carr, the Bishop of Galway, who was dismayed at his appointment and accepted only through filial obedience to the Holy See. He was a quiet, dignified and scholarly man, a refined gentleman who was liked by all. His first years in office saw the completion of the Cathedral and he took a deep interest in all aspects of its construction and decoration. Just ten years after Dr Carr’s arrival, the building was free of debt and therefore ready for consecration. This great event and ceremonies associated with it took place in October 1897 in the presence of enormous crowds from all over Australia. Wardell saw the completion of his cathedral. He died two years later, still working on design matters for uncompleted parts of the building.

Archbishop Carr took his duties as parish priest very seriously and was a constant presence in the Cathedral. Unlike his predecessor and his successors, he saw no need to live away from St Patrick’s, so his involvement with the building was very close. In the twenty years after the consecration of 1897, the Cathedral’s interior decoration was completed, basically according to Wardell’s intentions, but it is doubtful if he would have been entirely satisfied with the stencil patterned walls of the sanctuary and chapels, done to the designs of William Tappin. There was no attempt made to provide stained glass, other than in all the chapels and the sanctuary. This might well have been a conscious decision, for one of the real beauties of St Patrick’s is the quality of light obtained through the use of specially imported amber or cathedral glass.

Daniel Mannix succeeded as Archbishop of Melbourne in May, 1917. One of his first acts was to remove late Victorian and Edwardian era monuments which had been installed during Dr Carr’s period. It was he who also had the interior painted in a grey colour, eliminating the typical Wardell buff- pink coloured interior. But Archbishop Mannix’s greatest contribution was the completion of St Patrick’s by the addition of the spires and other elements in the late 1930s. The Archbishop maintained a constant interest in the Cathedral which he visited on an almost daily basis. It was he who brought about musical reforms and who insisted on a worthy celebration of the elaborate ceremonies of the pre-Vatican II church.

The liturgical reforms instituted by the Vatican Council encouraged a greater participation in the liturgy on the part of the laity. Major alterations were made to church buildings to accommodate new ways of thinking. St Patrick’s was altered to accommodate these changes. Some furnishings and fittings were removed and a new carpeted timber platform was constructed in the crossing as an extension of the existing sanctuary. Now, more than twenty years later, this extension has been made permanent. To celebrate its Centenary, the Cathedral has been restored and conserved through the generosity of Governments, major donors and the people of Melbourne. As this century draws to a close, the great Cathedral dedicated to St Patrick maintains its traditional role as the principal church of the archdiocese and the centre of Catholic life. We enter not only a new century but also a new millennium, when the Cathedral will continue to serve the faithful and endure as a reminder of God’s presence in our city.

Tom Hazell was born in the Cathedral parish and has known St Patrick’s all his life. His affection for the Cathedral dates back to his time as an altar server and family friendship with those who had been associated with the building, since the last century. He developed a particular interest in Gothic Revival architecture, church liturgy, and the work of William Wardell and has written on these matters.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Patron Saints – St Brigid

Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd or Bride) (Irish: Naomh Bhríde) (c. 451 – 525) was an Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several convents who is venerated as a saint. She is considered one of Ireland’s patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba. Her feast day is February 1, the traditional first day of spring in Ireland.

Patron Saints – St Patrick

(Latin: Patricius, Irish: Naomh Pádraig) was a Roman Britain-born Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family.

He entered the church, as his father and grandfather had before him, becoming a deacon and a bishop. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he worked and no link can be made between Patrick and any church.

By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick and the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and the other early missionaries had tried to establish.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

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