St Patrick’s Cathedral 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.
The Cathedral’s 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 Cathedral is the environment for the major liturgies of the Catholic community as well as the venue for significant civic celebrations embracing the wider community. 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.