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St. Mary's Cathedral, Austin

#4 of 18 in Historic Sites in Austin
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Architectural Building
Saint Mary's Cathedral is the cathedral parish of the Catholic Diocese of Austin located in Austin, Texas, United States. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, as St. Mary's Cathedral.
The origins of this church date back to the 1850s when the Catholic community in Austin (then the new state's temporary capital with a population of around 600) built a small stone church named St. Patrick on the corner of 9th and Brazos Streets. In 1866, the church was renamed Saint Mary, and the parish decided they needed a new church and could afford masonry construction. In 1872, after Austin was made the permanent capital of the state, the parish laid the cornerstone for a new church choosing a location one block north of the original building.
The parish had laid out a basilica-shaped foundation and begun raising the walls, which were high when the architect Nicholas J. Clayton began to design their new church. Eventually to become the foremost Victorian architect in Texas, Clayton had never designed a church, and Saint Mary's was his first independent commission. Born in Ireland in 1840, Clayton learned masonry and building design in Cincinnati, and came to Galveston in 1872 on behalf of his Ohio firm. At the time, Austin was part of the Archdiocese of Galveston, and it may have been through the Holy Cross fathers that the bishop connected Nicholas Clayton with the first Catholic parish in Austin. This church began Clayton's long, prolific career centered in Galveston, building primarily ecclesiastical structures but also commercial buildings and homes.
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St. Mary's Cathedral reviews

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133 reviews
  • Went to Mass on the first Sunday of Lent. Very good choir and organist. Priest said a holy Mass and a to the point homily. Both the exterior and interior are inspiring to spirituality.  more »
  • I stopped in to pray and I am glad I did. Mid afternoon on a weekday and there was about five other people doing the same. The place is artful yet simple. I noticed they do Latin Rite masses which I.....  more »
  • The church is beautiful. We attended the Latin rite Mass, and although the sitting/standing sussesion was a little weird (in relation to the Latin rite) the ceremony was beautiful. Spanish/Latin and English/Latin Mass booklets were available but not the readings. I forgot my handbag there and came back half an hour later, when another service had already started, but they had moved it to the bishop hall, and people were very friendly to help me recovering it. There is some parking around if you get there early enough.
  • Beautiful church! The Latino priest preached way too long! He could've started his homily about half way in and it would have been interesting. The music was okay...the timing was a bit off. Mass was too long...and I'm a traditional priest saying that! It just dragged on. Father should not have sung the words of institution. It didn't accomplish the goal of heightening the moment, but rather caused distraction. And, for the love of all things holy, please stop having visitors stand at the end of mass and clap for them. That is no drives young people away. This isn't a performance. It's worship...and not of us!
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