The largest archdiocese in Ireland may finally get a cathedral for its one million Catholics, following Dublin Archbishop Dermot Farrell’s surprise announcement of an initiative to identify the church that could best fulfil a cathedral function for the city. Source: OSV News.
Two locations were named by Archbishop Farrell in a statement on June 22, which revealed that a project group was being set up to study the future of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral on the north side of the River Liffey and St Andrew’s Church on the south side. Both churches are located in Dublin’s city centre.
The cathedral proposal, when it is formulated, will require approval by Rome and could see St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, which was built nearly 200 years ago and has served as a de facto cathedral, designated as a basilica, and St Andrew’s Church, which was built shortly after St. Mary’s, take on the mantle of a cathedral.
According to the archdiocese’s statement, “There are strong grounds for considering that St Andrew’s might better serve the cathedral function.” A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Dublin, Peter Henry, said: “St Andrew’s has a far larger capacity with excellent sight lines for those attending liturgies and other events.”
Presidents, government ministers, prelates and even Pope Francis (in 2018), have attended St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral on occasions of religious significance. However, the church, an impressive classical revival-style building, is situated at the back of one of Dublin’s main streets.
Under the Penal Laws, enforced during British colonial rule, Catholics were not permitted to erect churches on a main street. St Mary’s was officially opened in 1825, four years before Catholic Emancipation. As the principal Catholic church in Dublin, it was designated a pro-cathedral, meaning it was an “acting” cathedral, but technically it was still a parish church.
Dublin may get a full cathedral with archdiocese deciding which landmark church should become one (By Sarah Mac Donald, OSV News)