PORTLAND---“They have erected the noblest and most elegant of structures.”
The words of Fr. I.T. Hecker on September 8, 1869, during the Mass of Dedication for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland still ring true today.
In 2019, the cathedral remains a magnificent place that leaves visitors in awe of its beauty and inspires Catholics to firmly turn their hearts and minds to God.
This year, the 150th anniversary of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Portland’s tallest structure and one of the city’s most historic buildings, will be celebrated with a series of special events.
The first event will serve as an introduction to the foundation of the nature and architecture of the cathedral, the mother church of the Diocese of Portland. The presentation, entitled “The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception: Standing as a Witness to Faith and Beauty for 150 Years,” will be held on Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. in the cathedral’s chapel. All are encouraged to attend this free event.
The presentation will be led by Monsignor Marc Caron, a priest of the Diocese of Portland who is currently a professor of liturgy at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts.
“I will try to give those attending a sense of the challenges and inspirations which motivated Bishop David Bacon and Patrick Keeley, the architect,” said Monsignor Caron. “I'd also like to help them become better able to ‘read’ the building from an architectural point of view, so that they can recognize which elements are drawn from the patristic tradition, or Gothic tradition, or Baroque tradition, for example, and which were incorporated over time in various stages in the building's evolution. The building has lots to tell us if we know how to read it!”
In addition, the presentation will highlight the cathedral’s role as host to many historic and culturally-significant events in the city over the last 150 years.
“I am hoping that it will help those attending feel even more at home there and appreciative of all those who have gone before us who have left us this beautiful legacy,” said Monsignor Caron.
Anniversary celebrations will continue throughout 2019, including:
Sunday, September 8, 2019, at 10 a.m.
A Mass commemorating the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary & the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral will be celebrated by Bishop Robert P. Deeley.
Saturday, December 7, 2019, at 4 p.m.
Bishop Deeley will celebrate Mass commemorating the Immaculate Conception on the eve of the solemnity. The Mass will be followed by a reception in the cathedral's Guild Hall, a fundraiser for the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen.
For more information about the anniversary year or the history of the cathedral, visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception anniversary section of the diocesan website. The section will be updated with new features during the year.
Tours of the cathedral are also offered on the first Sunday of each month after the 10 a.m. Mass. Gather near the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary (left of the tabernacle and large stained-glass window of our Blessed Mother). Tours last approximately 45 minutes, with time for questions. To schedule a group tour, please contact the parish office at (207) 773-7746.