Mary Mother of Jesus                                                                          Index to Part I and Part II
The BASILICA OF Saint. Mary of Minneapolis up to 1932        PART I
The BASILICA OF ST. MARY of Minneapolis  PART 2
A Historical and Descriptive Sketch
Reverend James M. Reardon

With a Foreword by
Reverend Peter Guilday, Ph. D., J. U. D.
Catholic University of America

Nihil Obstat:
Rector, St. Paul Seminary
  Censor Deputatus
  St. Paul, Minnesota
  February 11, 1932
Archbishop of St. Paul
St. Paul, Minnesota,
February 25, 1932
Copyright, 1932
James M. Reardon
Who Laid the Foundation of the Catholic Church
and especially to
Crowning the Achievements of Their Forefathers
Adorned the City of Minneapolis

The Basilica of St. Mary



IT was my pleasure during the twelfth annual meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association at Minneapolis (December 28-30, 1931) to read the manuscript of Father Reardon's description of the Basilica of Saint Mary in that city.  The historical account of the planting of our Faith in Minnesota and the architectural explanation of the Basilica itself are so exceptionally well written and in such ideal conformity with the canons of criticism that it is an honor to pen these lines of appreciation.
    The research involved in the establishment of the historical facts, and traditions which Father Reardon has woven into his narrative can easily be surmised from the bibliography of archival and printed sources appended to his brochure.  It is greatly to Father Reardon's credit that, amid the many demands upon his time as pastor of the Basilica of Saint Mary, he has succeeded not only in giving his readers an accurate account of the rise and progress of the Church in Minneapolis but also in creating what will undoubtedly become a model for this type of historical study.
    Future historians of the Church in the United States must base their narratives upon well-written and well-documented diocesan and parochial histories; and when there is added to the text, as in Father Reardon's essay, an architectural description of the Basilica itself, we reach a perfection of design which places the work among those of permanent value in American Catholic historiography.
The metropolis itself as well as the Catholic citizenship of Minneapolis may well be proud of Father Reardon's interesting and scholarly production.
Catholic University of America
Washington, D.C.
THE following pages tell the story of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception of Minneapolis from shed church to Basilica.
They preface the history of its origin and growth with a brief account of the first parish founded in St. Anthony, now part of "the City by the Falls," whence came the pioneer priests who ministered to the spiritual needs of the Catholic settlers on the west bank of the Mississippi.  They trace the development of the parish, under devoted pastors. From humble beginnings, through decades of progress, to the culminating glory of the present.
   The story is taken from official records and unpublished documents, supplemented by information obtained from men and women who knew the Pioneers, and shared the labors and triumphs of their successors.  The writer is grateful for their cooperation in making more complete than otherwise this permanent record of notable achievement.
To the historical part of the narrative is added
a description of the Basilica of St. Mary and its appointments, to serve as a guide for parishioner and visitor interested in its architectural details and the symbolism incorporated in them.

The writer wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to the Reverend Peter Guilday, Ph.  D., J. U. D., of the Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C.; to the Right Reverend Humphrey Moynihan, S. T. D., Rector of the St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul Minnesota; and to His Excellency, the Most Reverend John G. Murray, D. D., Archbishop of St. Paul, for scholarly reading of the manuscript and many valuable suggestions and criticisms.
Minneapolis, Minnesota,
Feast of St. Joseph, 1932


In the Footsteps of

Father Hennepin
THE first Catholic parish established in what is now the City of Minneapolis was placed under the patronage of St. Anthony of Padua.  But long before there was any prospect of such a city, Father Hennepin, a Belgian missionary and explorer, had bestowed the name of St. Anthony on the falls of the upper Mississippi river, which he discovered in July 1680.
    Father Louis Hennepin was one of three Recollet (Franciscan) priests who accompanied La Salle on his voyage of exploration from New France into the heart of this vast continent.  Hampered by loss of equipment, dearth of supplies and other causes, La Salle was forced to abandon Fort Crevecoeur, near Peoria, Illinois, and return to Fort Frontenac, near Kingston, Ontario, in the early part of 1680.  Before retracing his steps he urged Father Hennepin to push on towards the west during his absence and, on February 29, of that year, the intrepid missionary, accompanied by Michael Accault and Anthony Auguelle, paddled down the Illinois river to the Mississippi which they saw for the first time on March 7, as they turned their frail canoe towards the north.  All went well until April 11, when they were taken prisoners by a roving band of Sioux Indians whom they were forced to accompany up the river to what is now St. Paul, where they arrived on May 1, and whence they journeyed overland for four days to Mille Lacs in the land of the Dakotah.
Father Hennepin and his companions sojourned in this vicinity until the beginning of July when they accompanied a band of Indians on a buffalo hunt down the Rum River, named the St. Francis by Hennepin, and encamped for a {Page 17} time at what is now Anoka.  Father Hennepin and Auguelle were permitted to continue the journey down the Mississippi in search of supplies while Accault was detained as a hostage for their return.  They glided into the waters of the Mississippi, but had not gone many miles before they were forced to seek the shore because of a cataract "forty or fifty feet high divided in the middle by a rocky island of pyramidal form." They paused in admiration before the falling water, which they were the first white men to view.  "I called it," writes Father Hennepin, "St. Anthony of Padua's in gratitude for the favors done me by the Almighty through the intercession of that great saint."
The Falls of St. Anthony, then in the midst of an unknown wilderness, is now within the corporate limits of the City of Minneapolis.  For many decades it was naught but a name on the crude maps of the western world.  In the course of time it was destined to become a landmark in fixing the location of places, which were eventually to surpass it in importance.  But for more than a century no colonists came to take possession of the fertile prairies that billowed inland from its foaming waters.

The Pioneer Missionaries

      Nearly fifty years after the discovery of the Falls of St. Anthony, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered up for the first time on Minnesota soil in the log chapel dedicated to St. Michael Fort Beauharnois, on the northwestern shore of Lake Pepin; but no concerted effort was made to convert the Indians or to bring spiritual succor to the hardy pioneers, who had braved the dangers of an unknown land and penetrated into the neighborhood of St. Anthony Falls, until after the visit of Bishop_Loras {Book Cover} of Dubuque to St. Peter (now, Mendota) in the summer of 1839.

The Catholics of St. Peter, one hundred and eighty-five in number, had never before seen a priest or Bishop in these remote regions.  After baptizing fifty-six persons, confirming eight, administering Holy Communion to thirty-three and imparting the nuptial blessing to four couples, the Bishop {Page 18} promised to send a priest to minister to their spiritual needs.
Accordingly, in April, 1840, the Reverend Lucien Galtier (1811-1866), who had been ordained in Dubuque on January 5 of that year, was appointed  first resident pastor in Minnesota with headquarters at St. Peter, whence he ministered to the Catholics of St. Paul for whose convenience he built a log chapel, dedicated on All Saints' day of the following year.  "Father Galtier was a man of remarkable personality and power; he had the face of a Caesar and the heart of a Madonna; in him strength and tenderness, culture and simplicity, met and mingled in the making of a noble character."  On his departure for a new field of labor on May 25, 1844, the  Reverend Augustine Ravoux became "the lone sentinel of Rome" in the vast territory north of the Iowa line.

Father Ravoux (1815-1906) who was ordained with Father Galtier, began his apostolate among the Sioux Indians of Minnesota in 1841, and was reluctant to leave the Redmen when Bishop Loras assigned him to St. Peter and its missions, where he was destined to spend the rest of his life in yeoman service for the nascent church in the Northwest.

   To him more than to any one else must be given credit for laying its foundations.  He labored with unwearying zeal amid the privations and hardships of these primitive days; and lived to reap a rich harvest from the seed he planted, and to see, not in vision but in reality, the dawning glory of the golden age of Catholicism in the Province of St. Paul.

Frontier Movement Westward
    For a score of years prior to the Appointment of Father Ravoux as pastor of St. Peter -- with a roving commission to minister to aborigines and colonists -- the tide of immigration had borne settlers into the valley of the upper Mississippi.  From South and East they came in ever-increasing numbers, brought up the river by the "Virginia" on her maiden voyage to St. Paul in 1823 and on subsequent trips. {Page 19}

     Their ranks were swelled with refugees from the fur-trading posts near the Canadian border, settlers from the Selkirk colony in Manitoba-bands of hardy pioneers and daring adventurers who took possession of the land and paved the way for the commercial supremacy of the Twin Cities of the Northwest.  Among them were many Catholics-Irish and French traders, half-breeds, coureurs de bois, soldiers of fortune lured by the hope of wresting riches from untitled prairie and primeval forest and from barter with the nomadic Indian who followed the lumbering buffalo across the grassy plain. {Page 20}

The Falls of St. Anthony

Where the Pioneers Prayed

     To these Catholic settlers, as occasion offered, Father Ravoux preached the gospel, administered the Sacraments and furnished opportunities for the practice of their religion.  The only available chapels were those of St. Peter and St. Paul; and to them the settlers flocked from the surrounding territory. In his Reminiscences, Memoirs and Lectures he says that "a great portion of the membership of the Catholic Church who overcrowded the Chapel (of St. Paul) on Sundays were not only those living in St. Paul, but many from Little Canada, St. Anthony and Mendota." From time to time he visited the Catholics in the vicinity of St. Anthony Falls, where a village had sprung up.  Indeed, St. Anthony Falls was better known than St. Paul.  In the Metropolitan Catholic Almanac for 1844, we find mention of St. Paul's Church "near the Falls of St. Anthony"; of the Sioux Mission "above the Falls of St. Anthony"; and of St. Peter’s Church "near the Falls of St. Anthony." Father Ravoux foresaw that the neighborhood of the Falls was the natural location for a town, and that a church would soon have to be provided for the growing congregation.

First Church of St. Anthony {1851}

      As early as 1848 the Town of St. Anthony had been platted.  It had neither store, hotel nor church. When the Territory of Minnesota was organized in 1849, Father Ravoux realized that the time had come to make provision for a parish. He prevailed upon Pierre Bottineau to donate a suitable block in the "upper town" as a site for the proposed church.  "In 1849 he (Father Ravoux) commenced the erection of the first church within the present limits of Minneapolis." It was to be built of limestone, of which there was an unlimited supply in the vicinity; but when the foundation was laid it was discovered that the cost of a stone {Page 23} church would be too great a tax on the meager resources of the parishioners.  A frame superstructure was built, the exterior of which was completed by July, 1851. It was the first house of worship to lift its beneficent cross within the confines of what was to be the City of Minneapolis.  Father Ravoux personally supervised its construction, paddling up the river from St. Peter frequently for that purpose.

Organized Parish Life

One of the first acts of Bishop Cretin after his installation as Bishop of St. Paul was to appoint the Reverend Denis Ledon (1824-1881) resident pastor of St. Anthony Falls, as the settlement was then called.  Father Ledon, ordained in France, had accompanied the Bishop on his return to America after his consecration as first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese in the Territory of Minnesota.
Father Ledon came to the parish in July--the first baptismal entry, that of Bridget Delaney, is dated July 22, 1851 and immediately took steps to finish the interior of the church and provide its meager furnishings.  He also built a two-room addition to the rear to serve as a residence for the pastor.     A year later, on July 20 {1852}, Bishop Cretin made an official visit to St. Anthony Falls, dedicated the church and preached to the congregation.

  This was the second church dedication in the Diocese, the first being that of the Cathedral on the corner of Wabasha and Sixth Streets, St. Paul, in the autumn of the previous year {1851}.  The Bishop made another visit to the parish in August 1853, when he consecrated a new bell before it was hung in a belfry erected near the church.
Second Church of St. Anthony {1849-61}

In the meantime the congregation had increased rapidly and now numbered nearly a thousand souls.  The Bishop decided that the time had come to open a parochial school, and he requested the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, who had come to St. Paul from St. Louis in November 1851, to provide the teachers.  The story of that school and its vicissitudes is told elsewhere in this booklet. {Page 24}

In a few years the 1st Church of St. Anthony {link} became too small for the congregation and, early in the summer of 1855, it was decided to undertake the erection of a stone church, l40x60x30 feet in size; but before actual work began Father Ledon was assigned to the St. Paul Cathedral, and the Reverend John Fayolle of Little Canada, who had accompanied Bishop Cretin from France in 1851, succeeded him.
       Under the direction of the new pastor plans for a stone church were prepared, and the work of construction began in 1857.  During the next two years the foundation was completed and the walls carried up to the roof.  The strain of parish duties and of building operations proved too much for Father Fayolle, and his health, never very robust, began to fall perceptibly. His physical illness, aggravated by a melancholy disposition, brought ;about a mental collapse, necessitating his removal from the parish in April, 1860, by Bishop Grace who had succeeded Bishop Cretin. The Reverend John McDermott, his successor, assumed charge a few weeks later-his first baptismal entry was on June l0-and undertook the task of finishing the church.  It was found necessary to tear down the walls almost to the water table and rebuild them before the roof could be put on. But despite the delay the sacred edifice was ready for dedication on July 21, 1861.
It was a very imposing structure for those days.  It was built of limestone from a neighborhood quarry.  A square tower of generous proportions, rising a few feet above the rooftree and surmounted by a cross, projected beyond the facade, of which it formed part, and provided a vestibule into which the main door opened.  An additional entrance was located on each side of the tower. At the front corners stone buttresses ending in miniature turrets rose above the eaves and added to the pleasing appearance of the church. This building, with the exception of the brick facade and twin spires added in 1898, is the St. Anthony Church of today on Ninth Avenue and Main Street, Northeast Minneapolis. {page 25}
A New Outpost of the Faith
In the years following the boom of 1849, St. Anthony Falls grew in numbers and importance, even though it did not fulfill the prediction of its leading citizens in the matter of population. 

When it was incorporated as a city in 1855, it had an estimated population of two thousand, about one-fifth of the forecast.  The increase came largely from immigration.  Many of the new arrivals finally settled on the west side of the river, and soon a village sprang up which, when it cast off the swaddling clothes of infancy, formed the nucleus of the City of Minneapolis.
Among the newcomers were many Catholics, who were obliged to attend Mass in the Church of St. Anthony and receive spiritual ministrations from its pastor.  At first they crossed the river on a ferry; later on they used the suspension bridge- "one of the wonders of America" -opened for traffic in 1855, paying a toll for the privilege.  In winter they took advantage of the ice. 

After the admission of Minnesota to statehood in 1858, Minneapolis, as the new settlement had been named five years before, grew rapidly in size and population and threatened to outstrip, as it did eventually, its elder sister across the river.
    From the beginning of his pastorate Father McDermott realized the necessity of making special provision for the Catholics of Minneapolis, and he arranged to say Mass for them every Sunday and to instruct the children in catechism. The Catholic Directory for 1861 notes the fact that Minneapolis "is attended every Sunday from St. Anthony Falls.  Mass at 8 a.m.  Catechism at 2 1/2 p.m., 50 children attending."

Such an arrangement could be but temporary.  Father McDermott foresaw that at an early date it would be necessary to build a church for the accommodation of the Catholics in the new town and a school for the children who were obliged to attend St. Anthony's. {Page 26}

First School and Church
  On December 29, 1865, he purchased from Franklin Beebe two lots, each 66 x l5O feet, in Block 56 of the Town of Minneapolis and Hoag's Addition thereto, for the sum of fifteen hundred dollars.  They were located on the cast side of Third Street at the intersection of Third Avenue, North.  This action was taken with the approval of Bishop Grace who realized that before long a new parish would have to be established in that locality.In the summer of 1866 Father McDermott began the erection of a frame building on the second lot from the corner to be used as a school and temporary church.

To finance the project he had to give a mortgage on the property to William Gavin for six hundred dollars.
Before the building was completed Father McDermott was transferred to another parish and, on November 12, 1866, he deeded the property, subject to the mortgage, to his successor, Reverend Felix Tissot, who put the finishing touches on the school and opened it for the admission of pupils on December 10 of that year.
  To defray the cost he borrowed six hundred dollars from  John Sullivan, giving a second mortgage on the property. Both mortgages were satisfied on March 21, 1868, by Father Tissot, who had deeded the property to Bishop Grace on December 20, 1866.  The school was placed in charge of  the Sisters of St. Joseph who lived at St. Mary's Convent in St. Anthony.
The school was "used for the double purpose of church and school ... on Sundays Mass was said and catechism taught; during the week the building was used as a school." This was the arrangement until the first resident pastor was appointed in the person of the Reverend James McGolrick who came in the autumn of 1868.
First Resident Pastor 
Father McGolrick had already spent a year in the Diocese as assistant pastor of the Cathedral of St. Paul where he won golden opinions from all. "Few men," says the Northwestern Chronicle, "possess the charming single-mindedness that has endeared the Reverend Gentleman to us all ... May success crown his efforts in the pioneer Catholic Church of {page 27} Minneapolis." Bishop Grace wanted him to take charge of Burnsville (near the present Savage), but he asked to be sent to Minneapolis, and the Bishop granted his request.
    The announcement of Father McGolrick's appointment was received with unfeigned joy by the Catholics of Minneapolis. It meant the beginning of a new era in their religious life. As resident pastor his presence would give the Catholics a feeling of solidarity with the Universal Church, coordinate their spiritual efforts and direct them into normal channels. The result more than justified the hopes of the congregation.  No better choice could have been made of a pastor to do the pioneering work and officially represent the Catholic Church in a non-Catholic community. Youthful, energetic, learned and devoted, Father McGolrick entered upon his new duties with unbounded enthusiasm.  He soon established himself as a leader in the town and became the friend of all, regardless of class or creed.  Naturally reserved and of a retiring disposition he, nevertheless, knew how to mingle with his fellowman, to win their respect and confidence.  It is needless to add that he soon found a secure niche in the affections of his flock, and the passage of years served only to make more intimate and personal the bond between pastor and people.

The "Shed Church"
Father McGolrick said his first Mass in the new parish on October 4, 1868.  It marked the beginning of a pastorate extending over a period of more than twenty-one years, and culminating in the honors of the episcopate.  He saw at once that more room was needed for the congregation than the temporary church afforded and he put an addition to the building to provide the necessary accommodation. The new section was built at the rear of the school, but extended beyond its sides to provide entrances for the people. Double doors in the rear wall of the school made provision for an overflow congregation to hear Mass from the classroom.  The enlarged structure extended back parallel to Third Avenue and was provided with altar, benches and furnishings of the most primitive kind. This "shed church," as it was called, was the original Church of the Immaculate Conception, the {Page 28} forerunner of the Basilica of St. Mary, and was ready for occupancy about the middle of November, 1868. There is no record of any celebration to commemorate its dedication to the service of God and religion.
Coincident with the opening of the "shed church" Father McGolrick organized a St. Vincent de Paul Conference to care for the needy members of the flock, and a Rosary Society to take charge of the altar and sanctuary and to bring its members to Holy Communion at least once a month.

Father Mathew Society

      But it was the founding of the Father Mathew Total Abstinence Society in February, 1869, and the great good it immediately accomplished which was the most important event in the early history of the parish.  The Total Abstinence movement inaugurated by Bishop Cretin flourished during his episcopate but was allowed to languish during the Civil War.  After the war it was revived in the Cathedral parish by the pastor, Reverend John Ireland, and the society established by Father McGolrick was the first offshoot of the parent organization.  Its officers were: Spiritual Director, Reverend James McGolrick; President, Maurice Gleason; Vice-President, Michael Kennedy; Secretary, Stephen McBride; Treasurer, Michael Murphy. It happened that some who were known to be hard drinkers joined the Father Mathew Society and faithfully kept the pledge. This produced a profound impression on Catholics and non-Catholics, and over night, as it were, Father McGolrick became one of the most prominent men of the town; and well did he sustain the part.  He joined many civic organizations, kept in touch with the nascent State University, and made his own the interests of the citizens. He was soon regarded as an authority on nearly all subjects and was consulted by every one. Even the non-Catholics who were far from sympathetic with his religious views were forced to admit that he was a veritable asset to the community. Nor did he overlook the intellectual needs of his people.
    He founded a parish circulating library, which soon had five hundred volumes on its shelves, and he encouraged the parishioners to read and study. James Byrne, father of Monsignor Byrne of St. Paul, was librarian for many years {Page 29} and through his efforts the library grew in popularity. 
From time to time Father McGolrick gave public lectures on historical, and scientific topics which were listened to by large and appreciative audiences.
   Two Masses on Sunday  8:30 and 10:00 -were necessary to accommodate the people.  At noon the St. Vincent de Paul Conference met; and at 3 o'clock the children assembled for catechism.  The pastor's time was fully occupied in visiting his people; counseling them in their difficulties; consoling them in their grief; rejoicing with them in their happiness; doing all that he could to alleviate distress and make them self-respecting and self-sustaining.

The First Parish Bazaar

      Early in the New Year preparations were made for a bazaar in Harrison's Hall, corner of Nicollet and Washington Avenues, to end on March 17.  The Rosary Society, St. Vincent de Paul Conference, Altar Society, Sunday School Teachers and the Catholic Young Men's Association had charge of the booths. 

The hall was decorated and festooned in a creditable manner, prominence being given to the Stars and Stripes and the "Sunburst" of Erin.  The prize table, it was declared, would have done honor to the Paris Exposition!  During the festival a paper called the "Shamrock" appeared every evening and was eagerly read by all.  It was edited by William Louis Kelly who, for nearly thirty-nine years prior to his lamented death on January 26, 1926, was a distinguished judge of the District Court of Ramsey County.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

      Every year the congregation entered with great enthusiasm into the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.  For weeks ahead the Sisters were busy making shamrocks.  The festivities began with a High Mass and sermon, followed by a procession through the principal streets of the town, in which all the societies of the parish participated in full regalia.  In the evening there was a play at the Pence Opera House at which "Handy Andy...... Kathleen Mavourneen" or some production of a similar character was the piece de resistance. {Page. 30}
The Church of the
Immaculate Conception {2nd 1871}
   During these years the parish continued to grow. Newcomers flocked to the church and added to the burdens of the devoted pastor, who was ever ready to spend himself and be spent for souls.  It became increasing1y evident that a new and more commodious church was imperative to house the congregation, and, in July 1869, he began its erection on the site between the school and Third Avenue.  The plans were drawn by Alden and Howe, and called for a church which, when completed, would be “not only the handsomest but the largest church in Minneapolis” and “the finest edifice of the kind in the limits of Minnesota.”
   The cornerstone of the second Church of the Immaculate Conception was laid on July 9, 1871.  Bishop Grace, accompanied by Father Ravoux, V. G., drove over from St. Paul for the function.  The carriage was met at the suspension bridge by the Father Mathew Societies of the parish and of St. Anthony, the local St. Vincent de Paul Conference and, preceded by the Emerald Band, escorted to the church.
After the Mass celebrated by Father McGolrick the Bishop and his assistants repaired to the site of the new edifice, the foundation of which had been floored and decorated for the occasion.  From a temporary pulpit the Bishop preached a sermon on "Truth" to a congregation of nearly three thousand persons, after which the cornerstone was blessed and placed in position.  It was a large block of Minnesota limestone, bearing the incised inscription, "Ecclesia Immaculatae Conceptionis, 1871-" In a tin box sealed in the stone were placed an assortment of silver and of copper coins, copies of current newspapers, Catholic and non-Catholic, and a parchment with an appropriate inscription written by Father McGolrick.  Among those who had an official part in the
{Page 33}
ceremony were two acolytes, James C. Byrne and Patrick J. Danehy, destined to be the first boys of the parish to enter the ranks of the priesthood.
Dedication Ceremony {December 8, 1872,}
      The work of completing the superstructure progressed so rapidly that the first Mass was said in it by the pastor on the patronal feast, December 8, 1872, and the solemn dedication took place the following New Year's day. Bishop Grace had promised to officiate, but when the time came he refused to attend the ceremony because of the manner in which the town had been placarded with posters announcing the event-a form of publicity to which he seriously objected. In his absence Father Tissot of St. Anthony blessed the church.  Father Venn of Henderson celebrated the Solemn High Mass, with Father Tissot as deacon, Father Murphy of Stillwater as subdeacon, and Father Ireland of St. Paul, master of ceremonies.  Masters Byrne and Danchy again acted as acolytes.  The choir, under the direction of Owen J. McCartney, and assisted by a group of singers from the Cathedral and Selbert's Orchestra, rendered Lambillotte's Paschal Mass in D., to the delight of a congregation that taxed the available capacity of the church.

    The sermon was preached by Father Ireland, who congratulated pastor and people on having "such a grand edifice for divine worship," and then dwelt on the attributes of the unchanging Church.  His peroration closed with the famed quotation from Macaulay.

        In the excitement of the moment Father Ireland forgot to announce the collection-a serious oversight!  When he stepped from the pulpit Father McGolrick rushed to him and called his attention to the fact, and Father Ireland returned to the pulpit and made adequate amends for the omission.
Description of the New Church
The new church was, without doubt, in the first degree creditable to pastor and people ... a structure at once handsome and massive
." It was 137 feet long by 64 wide, with transepts 84 feet in width, and was built of blue limestone from the quarries at St. Anthony, with cut stone trimmings, {Page 34} galvanized iron cornices and a remarkably elaborate and handsome interior finish.  The walls rose 22 feet above the watertable and the vault of the ceiling was 40 feet above the floor.  There was a gallery over the vestibule for the choir, and two rows of columns supported the roof.  To the north of the main entrance a square tower ending in a spire lifted its crowning cross 110 feet above the grade.  The edifice was, according to the Evening News, "elegantly proportioned, graceful in appearance and an ornament to our city." It cost about forty thousand dollars, exclusive of furnishings.
The First Mission in Minneapolis
      In November 1875, the first mission given in Minneapolis was preached in the church by the Paulist Fathers of New York, under the direction of Father Deshon, assisted by Fathers Dwyer and Elliot.  "The crowded church bore testimony to their zeal and the living faith of the people." During the mission two thousand two hundred Communions were distributed, one hundred and thirty new members joined the Young Ladies Sodality, eleven converts were added to the fold, three hundred and fifty-seven men took the total abstinence pledge and four hundred and five persons were confirmed.  The Total Abstinence Society became the most prosperous in the state with a membership of seven hundred.

Important Parish Events
A campaign to pay off an indebtedness of ten thousand dollars was inaugurated in the same year when an effort was made to induce every parishioner to subscribe five dollars annually, payable in installments.  In the course of time this, penny collection," as it was called, helped to reduce the debt materially, although not all could be persuaded to pledge the specified amount.

    During the Lenten season of 1876, permanent Stations of the Cross were purchased and solemnly erected on April 5, the Wednesday of Passion Week.  Ten days previously a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin, patroness of the church, was dedicated after the vesper service. It now occupies a pedestal in the Basilica.  {Page 35}
On Sunday, January 7, 1877, a new bell was consecrated by Bishop Ireland after vespers. The parish societies attended in regalia.  The bell now hangs in the eastern tower of the Basilica and sends forth the Angelus call to prayer every day.
  A statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was blessed by Father McGolrick on Friday, June 8 (1877), of the same year, and now occupies the niche above the altar of the Sacred Heart in the Basilica of St. Mary.
   The Holy Name Society was established on the first Friday of Lent, 1879, by Bishop Ireland, who preached a sermon on reverence for the sacred name of the Savior.
The church was incorporated under the title of the Immaculate Conception January 14, 1882, the incorporators being-in addition to the Bishop of the Diocese and his Vicar General-Father McGolrick, Anthony Kelly and P. W. Tobin.  It retained the name until September 21, 1921, when it was changed to the Pro-Cathedral of St. Mary of Minneapolis.  It became the Basilica of St. Mary of Minneapolis on January 1, 1926.
Catholic Colonization Movement
        Father McGolrick took an active part in the formation and functioning of the Minnesota Colonization Company organized by Bishop Ireland in 1876, and helped to draft its constitution and by-laws.  It had for object to induce Catholic immigrants, to settle in the state on farms which it sold them on the most favorable terms.  He was also one of the sponsors for the Catholic Immigration Convention held in Harrison's Hall on May 15, 1877, - in which the method of operating the company was fully outlined and plans made for the sale of stock In the corporation, the proceeds to be used for the purchase of land suitable for farming in Swift, Nobles, Big Stone, Murray and other counties.  As a result of the work done by the Company over a period of years many settlers were brought to Minnesota and flourishing colonies established at Graceville, DeGraff, Currie, Avoca and elsewhere. {Page 36}

Trips Across the Ocean

      In September 1877, Father McGolrick left for an extended vacation in Europe, the objective point being his birthplace, Borrisokane, in County Tipperary, Ireland. He was accompanied by four students whom he placed in the preparatory seminary at Meximieux in France to study the classics and test their vocation to the priesthood.  On their arrival at nightfall they were met by Reverend Joseph Guillot, a subdeacon, and a member of the teaching staff, who mistook the youthful-looking priest for a last-minute addition to the group of students for whom they had been asked to prepare.  They were given the customary evening repast and then ushered into the dormitory for the night.  The next morning when Joseph Guillot went to summon the boys for Mass, he found one of them sitting on a bed, saying the breviary!  A frank apology was offered and accepted in Latin-the only language common to both-and Father McGolrick was ceremoniously escorted to the chapel to say Mass, and thereafter he occupied the Bishop's room in the institution.
  Years afterwards when Father Guillot (now a Domestic Prelate and Chaplain at St. Joseph’s Novitiate, St. Paul) came to the diocese he met Father McGolrick who reminded him of the incident at Meximieux and they had a hearty laugh over it. What became of the boys?  One of them, Edward McKay of DeGraff, died the following year and was buried at Meximieux;

another, Edward Fallon of St. Paul, returned home at the end of his classical course.  The other two were Timothy Corbett of Minneapolis, now the Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, and James Fitzpatrick of St. Paul, who died April 30, 1901, as pastor of the Church of St. Stephen in this city.
On a subsequent visit to the homeland, in 1888, Father McGolrickprocured a sacrarium of carved stone from the Abbey of Lorrha in County Tipperary, and had it built into the sanctuary wall of the church on the epistle side, where it remained until it was removed to the Basilica of St. Mary when the old church was demolished in 1922. Old Irish records place the founding of the Abbey of Lorrha as early as 550, A.D.  {Page 37}

A Champion of the Faith

      On more than one occasion Father McGolrick was called upon to enter the lists in defense of the Church against those who willfully or ignorantly misstated or misinterpreted her doctrines.  From pulpit and platform as well as through the press he refuted false teachings in regard to Catholicism and challenged his adversaries to substantiate their statements, offering a large reward for convincing proof.  Needless to say no claimants for the reward ever appeared.  His defense of the Church bore fruit in numerous conversions and in a more tolerant attitude on the part of non-Catholics towards their Catholic neighbors.

Interest in The Young

         Father McGolrick was keenly alive to the value of the school as an asset to the parish ... He was vitally interested in its welfare.  He visited the rooms frequently and encouraged the pupils to apply themselves diligently to study as a preparation for after life.  He took advantage of every occasion to urge parents to send their children to a Catholic school.  He himself taught Latin to the older boys who showed signs of a vocation to the priesthood.  Masters Byrne and Danchy were his first pupils.  He spent long hours in training the altar boys to serve Mass and to assist in the services of the Church.  Every year he gave the children of the parish a picnic which usually took the form of an excursion to some point of interest such as Mendota, Minnetonka or other near-by place.  On these occasions the boys from the orphanage were not forgotten.  For several years it was Customary for the Catholic children of the two cities to meet for a union picnic either "Hennepin Island" or the "Dacota Hills." That meant an on excursion by train from one city to the other-an important event in the lives of the little ones.  The priests and Sisters accompanied them, and not infrequently Bishop Grace visited the grounds to greet the children and to witness the games and other amusements.  Each group had its own band and the day was a memorable one for the children. {Page 38}
The Boys' Orphanage
       From the beginning of organized parochial life in Minneapolis the question of founding a Catholic orphanage was frequently discussed, but no definite move was made until 1878 when, on February 18, a meeting was held in the school to consider the matter.  It was presided over by Bishop Ireland, who pointed out the need for such an institution, and declared that Catholics should assume part of the burden of supporting the orphans of the community.  It was resolved to undertake the project, and a committee was formed to determine the mode of procedure and devise ways and means to finance it.  To raise funds for immediate use it was voted to organize a Catholic Orphan Asylum Association, the members of which would contribute two dollars a year.
At a meeting in March it was decided to rent for three hundred and fifty dollars a year a wing of the Winslow House located in St. Anthony on the site now occupied by the Exposition Building, and fit it up for an orphanage with accommodations for two hundred inmates.  The receipts of the Association, amounting to seven hundred and four dollars and fifty cents, were disbursed in renovating the building, leaving an indebtedness of two hundred twenty-two dollars and twenty-eight cents.  As soon as it was ready for occupancy it was placed temporarily under the care of Sister Angela Smythe, Superior of St. Mary's Convent.
In June a Board of Directors was chosen and the following officers elected: President, Bishop Ireland; First Vice-President, Father McGolrick; Second Vice-President, Michael Lyons; Secretary, 0. J. McCartney; Treasurer, Timothy Corbett.
Meetings were held from time to time and before the end of the year it was voted to transfer the orphanage to the west side of the river.  With that in view the Day homestead, on Sixth Avenue, North, and Third Street, was purchased from Annie Kelly for four thousand two hundred seventeen dollars and thirty-one cents, and the cost of the repairs made since she acquired the property.  The building was renovated and enlarged to provide class rooms and dormitories for the little ones, the grounds were sodded and beautified and a fence {Page 39}erected, making the property "in every way worthy of the Catholic generosity of Minneapolis."
The boys from the orphanage on the east side were transferred to the new home as well as the boys from the orphanage in St. Paul, which was thenceforth reserved exclusively for girls.  The institution was incorporated May 7, 1879, under the name of "The Minneapolis Catholic Orphan Asylum."

    In the autumn of 1878, Sister Mary James, Directress of the Immaculate Conception school, was placed in charge, a position she retained until 1884, when she was succeeded by Mother Priscilla.

In 1885, a new site for the orphanage was purchased from James Stanchfield for sixteen thousand dollars.  It comprised a forty-acre tract in the Town of Richfield, adjacent to the West Side Catholic Cemetery (now, St. Mary's).  In March 1886, excavations were begun for a new building the cornerstone of which was laid on July 4. It was formally dedicated on the third Sunday of July, 1887- Mother Mary Xavier Carroll who had succeeded Mother Priscilla in 1887 as Superior of the down-town orphanage moved to the new institution with the boys in the spring of that year and retained active direction of it until her death in 1906.
While the orphanage was located in the Immaculate Conception parish Father McGolrick was indefatigable in his efforts to promote its welfare.  Nor did his interest cease after it was removed to the new location.  He was Vice-President of the Board of Directors as long as he lived in the city and was active in its affairs.  He pleaded for support for it and planned ways and means of assisting it.  He was indeed a father to the orphans and lived to reap the reward of his noble work in the knowledge of the good it accomplished.

Curbing the Liquor Traffic

      Father McGolrick's interest in the Total Abstinence movement never flagged during his residence in Minneapolis.  He was high in its councils in state and nation.  By voice and pen he proclaimed its necessity and efficacy as a remedy for the ravages of intemperance in the individual and the community.  His success was evidenced by the results.  "In ten {Page 40} years," says a writer in the Northwestern Chronicle of August 9, 1883, "the temperate Irishmen of Minneapolis have made a wonderful increase.  They fill important positions, own profitable real estate, build elegant homes, bring up their children in a respectful manner and are highly respected themselves."
Father McGolrick played an important role in the agitation for high license in Minneapolis as a means of reducing the number of saloons and freeing the traffic from most of its attendant evils by keeping it within the bounds of law.  In the beginning of 1884, there were in the city five hundred thirty-seven saloons of which fifteen were owned by Irishmen.  A spirited campaign in favor of high license was brought to a successful close on April 24, when the City Council passed an ordinance raising the license fee to five hundred dollars, and otherwise providing for the regulation of the traffic.  The ordinance went into effect on the first Monday of May and the immediate result was the closing of all but two hundred of the saloons theretofore in operation.  The worst class of saloons was put out of business and, consequently, most of the immoral features of the traffic were eliminated. 

Questionable resorts were closed, the indiscriminate sale of liquor prohibited and the traffic placed under stricter police surveillance.  The liquor element appealed to the Supreme Court, but the Court sustained the high license law in every respect.  Later the license fee was raised to one thousand dollars.

First Priest from the Parish

      On Christmas day, 1881, the Reverend Patrick J. Danehy, ordained in the Sulpician Seminary, Montreal, on December 16, celebrated his first Solemn High Mass in the church, with Father James McGolrick as deacon, Father John Hand as subdeacon and Father William McGolrick as master of ceremonies.  Father James McGolrick preached the sermon on the festive occasion; the first of the kind in the parish, for Father Danehy was "the first offering of Minneapolis to the Priesthood of the Diocese." The second "offering" was the Reverend James C. Byrne who, after ordination in the Eternal City on February 17, 1883, returned to his native parish in the following {Page 41} June and for a little more than a year was assistant to his former pastor and instructor.  Father Byrne was the first native-born Minnesotan to be ordained for priestly service in the Diocese of St. Paul and, with one exception-his classmate, the late Father Howard of Springfield, Illinois-the first ordained for any diocese.

Sacred Relics Enshrined October 24, 1884

     On Sunday, October 24, 1884, the congregation attending High Mass witnessed a ceremony never before seen in the Northwest-the solemn deposition of sacred relics of the Passion in a shrine at the left of the main altar.
The relics, brought from Rome by Father Byrne, comprised a portion of the
True Cross, of the Crown of Thorns, of the Nails, of the Crib, and of the Holy Sepulcher, enclosed in a glass-covered case scaled with wax a studded with precious stones, the whole enshrined in a costly reliquary of beautiful design, representing the high altar of St. Peter's, Rome.
At the gospel Reverend James C. Byrne preached a sermon on the veneration of sacred relics, and after Mass the Litany of the Saints was chanted in which the congregation joined.  A procession of school children, Total Abstinence Crusaders in regalia, altar boys and priests marched round the interior of the church.  Father McGolrick carried the reliquary and placed it in the elaborate and beautiful shrine made for it by a member of the congregation, and which cost a thousand dollars.  The shrine and reliquary were taken to Duluth when Father McGolrick was installed as Bishop of that See, and were consumed in a fire, which destroyed the Sacred Heart Cathedral in 1892.  It is interesting to note that, when news of this disaster reached Father Byrne, who had succeeded Bishop McGolrick as pastor of the Immaculate Conception parish, he immediately telegraphed an invitation to take up a collection in the church.  Father Corbett, pastor of the Cathedral, came and, in response to his appeal, the sum of six hundred and twenty-five dollars was contributed by the congregation-a generous donation, which greatly encouraged Bishop McGolrick in the work of building a new Cathedral. {Page 42}

Father Byrne's Pastorate

       Father McGolrick remained in charge of the parish until he was consecrated first Bishop of Duluth, December 27, 1889, where he resided until his death on January 23, 1918.  He was succeeded by the Reverend James C. Byrne, who had spent his boyhood in the parish, attended the parochial school, taken his first lessons in Latin from its devoted pastor and completed his studies for the priesthood in Rome, where he was ordained early in 1883.  On his return to the diocese he spent about a year as assistant in his native parish before his appointment as Secretary to Bishop Ireland who, in 1875, had been named Coadjutor to Bishop Grace whom he succeeded in 1884, and who, in 1887, was elevated to the archiepiscopal dignity.

First Trustees Appointed

      Father Byrne's tenure of office as pastor was brief; but in the two years spent in the parish he accomplished a great deal for its temporal and spiritual well-being. The Northwestern Chronicle of February 7, 1890, says, "The joy of the people of Minneapolis was great indeed when it became known that he was appointed to succeed Bishop McGolrick.  The grief felt at the departure of the Bishop is considerably lessened by the appointment of one so gentle and so learned as Father Byrne."
   He organized the parish in accordance with the statutes of the diocese by electing to the Board of Directors two prominent laymen to assist in the management of its temporalities.  Theretofore there had been no trustees to assist the pastor in this work.  The men selected for the office were Anthony Kelly and William McMullen, the former being elected Treasurer and the latter Recording Secretary.  Meetings of the board were held at stated times and minutes of the business transacted faithfully kept. {Page 45}

Parochial Improvements

              When Father Byrne came to the parish on January 26, 1890, he found the church encumbered with a debt of five thousand dollars which he took steps to pay.  Anthony Kelly, one of the most substantial members of the congregation, who had always evinced the keenest interest in the welfare and progress of the parish, offered to give fifteen hundred dollars on condition that the congregation raise the balance.  This was done in the course of the year, and for the first time in its history the church was free from debt.  But this happy condition did not last long.  The building was in need of extensive repairs.  The leaking roof needed to be re-shingled, the gallery enlarged, the heating system overhauled and amplified, a sounding-board placed over the pulpit, and other improvements made.
  Then, too, the old altars had to be replaced with ones more in keeping with the surroundings.  Three wooden altars of Gothic design, delicately carved and decorated, were ordered from the Hirscher firm in Shakopee.  The main altar, 14 feet wide and 32 feet high, cost six hundred dollars and the two-side altars three hundred and fifty each.  Finished in white and gold the main altar rose gracefully towards the ceiling -in a series of arches, niches, columns and turrets.  Above the tabernacle was enthroned a large wooden cross with a life-sized figure of Christ in natural colors.  To heighten the effect of the ensemble a skylight of colored glass was set in the roof of the sanctuary and on bright days the sun bathed the main altar in a flood of golden light.  Before the church was demolished in 1922, the altars were sold to the new Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception was built without a full basement, in accordance with the wishes of Bishop Grace who would not permit a full basement under any church authorized by him.  All that was allowed was an excavation for a hot-air furnace.  In winter it was difficult to heat the church.  Additional furnaces had to be provided, excavations made for them and tunnels dug to connect them with the coal bin.  These tunnels caused the stone bases on which the pillars in the church rested to sag and thus endanger the roof.  Provision had to be made to overcome this;
   But in spite of all that was done the pillars remained somewhat out of alignment.  However, the roof was so securely braced when it was put on that all danger of collapse was practically eliminated.  The school, likewise, had to be repaired and improved by transforming the gymnasium into classrooms and by additions to the heating system.  The total cost of the repairs was about ten thousand dollars; but before Father Byrne left the parish the full amount was paid and once more the church was out of debt.

University Catholic Students' Association

  On Sunday, May 24, 1891, a group of students from the University of Minnesota called on Father Byrne to discuss the advisability of forming a literary and social club.  They found him not only in sympathy with, but enthusiastic about, the project.  He hailed it as an important step in the right direction and, in a spirit of cooperation, offered the use of a room in the parish house for the meetings.

   A temporary organization was effected and a committee appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws.  At a subsequent meeting a permanent association was formed and any Catholic young man or woman attending the University was declared eligible for membership.  The Association met every Sunday afternoon in the parochial residence for instruction in Christian Doctrine and discussion of topics bearing on class work at the University.  Occasionally the program was varied by the reading of papers by the members, but at every meeting Father Byrne gave a lecture on a religious or semi-religious subject to those in attendance, averaging about twenty-five.
When Father Byrne left the parish the Association met for a time in the school.  Father Cleary of St. Charles Church, Father Kenny of St. Stephen's  and other priests favored the members with occasional lectures; but no priest took any special interest in the work, and ere long the organization began to languish and finally died. It was revived at an informal meeting of the leading Catholic students held on March 18, 1900, in the Y. M. C. A. building on the University campus, at which temporary officers were elected and several committees appointed.  At a subsequent meeting a permanent  {Page 47} organization was launched under the name of "The University Catholic Association of the University of Minnesota."
The chairman of the program committee, Mr. Owen P. McElmeel, now a member of the faculty of the College of St. Thomas, called on Father Byrne, then pastor of the Church of St. Patrick in St. Paul, whose interest in the work he had helped to inaugurate nearly a decade of years before at once revived.  He gave a series of lectures on Sunday afternoons in a building on the campus and secured other speakers, mostly priests from St. Paul Seminary and from the College of St. Thomas, to address the students.
    When Father Byrne was transferred to the pastorate of the Church of St. Lawrence, near the University campus, he took even greater personal interest in the intellectual and spiritual welfare of the Catholic students in attendance at that institution.  When he was appointed Irremovable Rector of the Church of St. Mary, St. Paul, the Most Reverend Archbishop Ireland requested the Paulist Fathers of New York to take charge of the parish of St. Lawrence and assume direction of the Catholic Students' Association.  Some years prior to their arrival a site for a Catholic clubhouse had been secured near the University campus and plans made for erecting a suitable building.  However, sufficient funds were not available for that purpose and later on the site was sold.  A few years ago the residence at 1228 Fourth Street, Southeast, Minneapolis, was purchased and opened as a recreational and social center for the Catholic students under the name of Newman Hall.  Courses of instruction in Christian Doctrine, Philosophy and Ethics are now given to the members of the Association and their friends by the Paulist Fathers.
Father Byrne severed his connection with the parish of the Immaculate Conception in September 1892, when he was appointed President of the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, replacing Reverend James J. Keane who succeeded him in Minneapolis. {Page 48}
Father Keane's Pastorate
    FATHER KEANE was, like his predecessor, a scholarly priest, but stern, strict, masterful.  He was a good administrator, devoted to his work, and upheld the traditions of the parish.  Although he was naturally reserved he won the affection of his flock by his devotion to duty, and especially by his solicitude for the poor and the wayward, and made many warm friends who remembered him with affectionate gratitude till the day of his death.  He found the physical properties in good condition, developed the spiritual and educational ideals of his predecessors, and took a great interest in civic affairs.  During his pastorate he frescoed the church, laid an inclined floor, removed the inner wall of the vestibule to provide additional seating room, installed new pews and a steam heating system, cleaned and burnished the stained glass windows, renovated and remodeled the school rooms, increasing their seating capacity, and made other improvements at a cost of about three thousand dollars.  The formal reopening of the church took place on the patronal feast, 1894.  The Right Reverend L. E. Caillet, V. G., Rector of St. Paul Seminary, celebrated the Mass and Father Keane preached the sermon, in which he reviewed the history of the parish and emphasized the duties of Catholics to the church.

Site for New Church

       During the latter years of his residence in the parish he became convinced of the need of a new and more modern church in another locality.  The growth of the city and the changes necessitated by commercial expansion made it evident that the new edifice would have to be built at some distance from the old site.  The locality about the church was more and more given over to wholesale houses and manufacturing plants; and the people who resided therein were forced to move to outlying districts and, perforce, the church must follow them. {Page 49}
     In seeking a site for the proposed church he was impressed with the accessibility of a piece of property on the northwest corner of Ninth Street at Mary Place, now LaSalle Avenue, which he purchased, on September 16, 1901, from the Minnesota Loan and Trust Company for thirty thousand dollars.  As a matter of fact, this property was found to be inadequate for the larger project on which the parish embarked a few years afterwards, and it was sold to the Patterson Land Company of St. Paul, on April 16, 1907, at an advance of five thousand dollars.

   Father Keane's connection with the parish ended with his consecration as Bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming, on October 28, 1902.  He was promoted to the Archiepiscopal See of Dubuque, August 11, 1911, and died August 2, 1929. {Page 50}

Father Cullen's Pastorate

WHEN Father Keane entered the ranks of the episcopate his place was taken by the Reverend Thomas E. W Cullen, who was ordained in St. Paul Seminary on November 8, 1901, and who had served as assistant pastor since August of the following year.  His pastorate was destined to be exceeded in length only by that of Father McGolrick.  It was during his incumbency that the Basilica of St. Mary was planned, built and dedicated.  His youthful enthusiasm enabled him to disregard or surmount difficulties, which would have daunted his predecessors.  His energy, activity and zeal for God's glory ever sought new channels for expression.  He devoted himself to the spiritualities of the congregation with so much energy that the people caught his enthusiasm and responded to his appeals.  He made the promotion of frequent Communion the object of his pastoral solicitude and the number of daily communicants increased very rapidly.  He organized literary societies for the young men and women, provided recreational facilities for them, and won recognition as a preacher especially to the little ones of the flock.  The children's Mass became the most attractive of the Sunday services and crowds flocked to the church to hear him.
Nor did he lose sight of the temporalities.  He was aware of the agitation for a new church, which had attained considerable momentum.  He was not fully convinced, however, that the proposed site was the most suitable for the purpose, and he was on the lookout for a more central location.
New Church Project Inaugurated
      The first public announcement of the project for a new church was made by Archbishop Ireland on Christmas day, 1903, when, in the course of his sermon, he outlined the plan and asked the cooperation of the parishioners in providing Minneapolis with a church which would stand in somewhat the same relation to the city as the proposed new Cathedral {Page 53} to the Archdiocese - an edifice which would be a striking symbol of the value and significance of religion to the individual and the community.
    Early in the New Year the undertaking received earnest consideration.  Committees were appointed to formulate plans, to decide on the probable cost, to secure the most favorable site, to plan the financial campaign.
      The first choice of a location for the church was the Wilson property at the corner of Hawthorne Avenue and Thirteenth Street.  Six lots in Block 22, Wilson, Bell and Wagner's Addition, were purchased on May 11, 1904, for thirty thousand dollars.  Later on they were deemed unsuitable and sold to the Holy Angels' Academy, July 1, 1905.  The buildings on them are now used as a high school for girls under the name of St. Margaret's Academy.
      The final choice was the commanding knoll at Sixteenth Street and Hennepin Avenue where this arterial thoroughfare curves gracefully to the south.  No more happy selection could have been made.  In perspective, elevation, accessibility and other external qualities of beauty it is without a peer in the city as a site for a majestic church such as that which now crowns it.
  The selection of an architect was left to the Most Reverend Archbishop and he chose Mr. E. L. Masqueray who was then designing the new Cathedral of St. Paul.

A Million Dollar Church

        The first estimate of the cost of the new church was two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and many thought the amount altogether too large.  Not so the Archbishop who visioned the growth and importance of the Minneapolis of the future and finally prevailed on the committee to authorize a church to cost not less than half a million dollars, part of which was to be contributed by the parishes of Hennepin County which were to be exempted from any contribution towards the new Cathedral.  The record shows that the total of this contribution was about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.  As a matter of fact, before the plans were finally approved the cost of the exterior alone was not much under a million dollars. {Page 54}
The first step in the actual inauguration of the project was taken on June 21, 1905, when Lawrence S. Donaldson, a prominent member of the parish, deeded to the Church of the Immaculate Conception seven lots in Auditor's Subdivision No. 20, as a site for the proposed church.  These lots had been purchased from different owners for the sum of forty thousand two hundred and fifty dollars and were donated to the corporation.
        The plan finally adopted called for a granite church in modern Renaissance style, with a massive rectangular dome surmounting the sanctuary and twin towers flanking the main entrances.  It was at first decided to use Minnesota granite for the whole building, but finally Vermont granite was substituted for the superstructure.
Cornerstone Laying
On August 7, 1907,
ground was broken for the foundation by Archbishop Ireland, who turned the first sod in presence of the building committee and invited guests; and so rapidly was the work carried on that all was in readiness for the laying of the cornerstone on May 31, of the following year.  The event was one of the most notable in the history of Minneapolis.  It took place in presence of an imposing assembly of bishops and clergymen from all parts of the country and an immense gathering of people, Catholic and non-Catholic.  More than twenty thousand men from every walk of life marched in the procession, bearing American flags, papal colors and parish banners, while numerous bands lent variety, beauty and life to the impressive line.  Five hundred uniformed students of the College of St. Thomas took part in the parade.  Twenty prelates in official robes of purple, more than three hundred priests and seminarians, the Governor of the State, the Mayor of the City and other distinguished guests viewed the procession from the grand stand erected in front of the -structure.  The occasion was graced by the presence of the Most Reverend Diomede Falconio, Titular Archbishop of Larissa and Apostolic Delegate, who officiated at the laying of the cornerstone, and the sermon was preached by the Most Reverend Archbishop Ireland, who took for his text: "Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today, and the same forever" (Hebrews XIII-8). {Page 55}
In the scaled copper box set into the cornerstone were placed a parchment with a Latin inscription giving a history of the project from its inception, a resume of the ceremonies, and the names of the committees; current newspapers and periodicals: year books of Catholic institutions; silver and copper coins, and other historical documents.
      The following is a translation of the Latin inscription on the easterly cornerstone:
                          TO GOD, GREAT AND GOOD.

The cornerstone of this Pro-Cathedral Church, dedicated under the title of Mary, Mother of God, Virgin conceived without the primal stain, and destined to adorn the City of Minneapolis, was laid with solemn rite on the thirty-first day of May in the year of Our Lord, 1908.

     On the westerly cornerstone is inscribed in Latin a tribute to Father Hennepin, discoverer of the Falls of St. Anthony, which is translated as follows:
   In the year of Our Lord, 1680, Louis Hennepin, the pioneer standard-bearer of the      Christian faith, whilst traversing regions hitherto untrodden by the footstep of     civilization, paused in admiration at the falling waters hard by the city of thefuture and adorned them with a saintly name transmitted on the pages of history.
In the year of grace, 1908, the faith of Louis Hennepin gloriously ripened into this magnificent temple.
     At the conclusion of the religious ceremony addresses were delivered by Governor Johnson for the State, Mayor Haynes for the City, James J. Hill for the Northwest, W. P. Devereux and F. A. Gross for the Catholic laity.
  This event marked "the passing of pioneer days and the dawn of a new epoch for the Church in the Northwest." {Page 56}
The Civic Dedication
      For six years building operations were carried on before the superstructure was completed and the gilded cross raised above the coppered dome.  As the work drew to a close it was deemed advisable to have what was called a civic dedication before the edifice was formally opened for divine worship.  Accordingly, on the Sunday evenings of November, 1913, a program of public lectures was given in the auditorium of the church by men prominent in national affairs and in the religious world.  The series was opened by Archbishop Ireland with an address on "Why Churches and Church-Going People?" He was followed by the Honorable John Barrett, of Washington, Director of the Pan-American Union, whose subject was "America and Her Sister Republics." The Honorable Bird S. Coler of New York, chose for his topic "The Hour and Its Opportunities," and the Most Reverend James J. Keane of Dubuque, gave an entertaining lecture on "The Social Problem." The Paulist Choristers of Chicago, under the direction of Father Finn, gave two concerts on Thanksgiving Day; and the series was brought to a close with an address on "Universal Peace" by Professor Talcott Williams, LL.  D., of Columbia University, New York.
      The general trend of the discourses was in harmony with the purpose of the civic celebration.  The speakers emphasized the necessity of civic righteousness as the characteristic of the highest type of American citizenship.  The learned and highly interesting lectures alluded to the new church as a centre of civic betterment even before it was dedicated to the religious purpose for which it was erected.  They were listened to with rapt attention by an audience which filled the immense auditorium every Sunday evening.
        In the course of his address at the opening of the civic celebration the Most Reverend Archbishop Ireland apostrophized the new church under the name of "Pro-Cathedral of St. Mary," and thus it was known until January 1, 1926, when His Holiness Pope Pius XI was graciously pleased to elevate it to the rank and dignity of a Minor Basilica, the first in the United States, and the name was officially and legally changed to "The Basilica of St. Mary of Minneapolis." {Page 57}

Informal Opening

After the civic festival the work of preparing the sacred edifice for the religious dedication went on apace and everything was ready for the informal opening on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 1914, when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered up for the first time in its sanctuary.  The celebrant was the pastor, Rev. Thomas E. Cullen, assisted by Reverend Henry J. Scherer as deacon, Reverend James Hickey as subdeacon, and Reverend Michael A. McRaith as master of ceremonies. The responses of the Mass were sung by an augmented choir with organ and orchestral accompaniment.  The Most Reverend Archbishop Ireland preached the sermon, thanking the people for their generous cooperation-the reward of which was becoming more and more apparent every year and urging them to make further sacrifices, if necessary, in order that the completed edifice might stand forth in all its beauty, an ornament to the city and a tribute to the Church of Ages and the God of Truth.  The Te Deum which brought the service to a fitting close voiced the joy of the congregation and its gratitude to the Almighty for the happy fruition of long years of patient waiting, sustained labor and generous sacrifice.

  In the evening a sacred concert was given by the choir and a sermon preached by the Reverend William Patton, 0.M.I., of Winnipeg, Canada, who dwelt on the necessity of a definite religious creed and code of morals.

Solemn Dedication

      A little more than a year elapsed before the solemn dedication took place.  The day chosen for it was Sunday, August 15, 1915, the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the tutelary saint and patroness of the church. The ceremony, at three o'clock in the afternoon, was attended by several prelates, about fifty priests and a large concourse of the faithful. The Most Reverend Archbishop Ireland who officiated was assisted by Father Othmar Erren, 0.S.B., and Father Wilbee with Father Ziskovsky as master of ceremonies.  He blessed the exterior of the building while the choir of priests who accompanied him around the church chanted the {Page 58} Miserere and the Litany of the Saints.
   The interior was then sprinkled with holy water and sanctified by the solemn prayers prescribed by the ritual, after which the procession returned to the sanctuary.  The people were admitted and the Archbishop preached from the text: "Behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1,48). He explained the significance of the ceremony just witnessed and dwelt on the honor and veneration due the Saints and especially the Queen of the heavenly host, the patroness of the parish, through whose intercession they had petitioned her Divine Son to extend His gracious protection over the building, that it might be separated from all profane uses and made the house of God, the gate of Heaven, the tabernacle of the Eternal.

  The ceremony was brought to a close with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at which Father Cullen officiated, assisted by Fathers McRaith and Burns. Luncheon was then served to the visiting prelates and priests in the school cafeteria.

An Imposing Exterior

  The church, it is true, was far from complete. The exterior alone was finished; the interior walls of sanctuary and nave were unadorned; a wooden altar and pews were the only furnishings; and an undecorated ornamental plaster ceiling the only embellishment.  But the pastor and people took legitimate pride in what had been accomplished in a decade of years.  The parish possessed a magnificent church which attracted universal attention and evoked most favorable comment because of its architectural beauty, its massive granite walls, its towering dome and heaven-pointing cross. The City of Minneapolis was proud, and rightly so, of this latest addition to its skyline.
     For several years after the opening of the Pro-Cathedral Mass was said on Sundays and at midday during Lent in the old Immaculate Conception Church; but gradually the need for such accommodation ceased and the old plant was abandoned.  In the early months of 1922 the church, school and residence were razed and the property devoted to commercial purposes.  It is still owned by the corporation. {Page 59}

New Parish School

  As the work on the church progressed it became evident that a new parochial school in the vicinity was necessary.  A site in the rear of the church, fronting on Laurel Avenue, consisting of four lots in Block 34 of Wilson, Bell and Wagner's Addition, was purchased in January 1911, for forty thousand, two hundred dollars.  The first announcement of the project was made by Archbishop Ireland on March 18, 1912, and plans and specifications therefore were prepared.  Bids were opened on August 26, and the contract was awarded for one hundred two thousand, six hundred fifty-nine dollars, exclusive of heating, plumbing, furnishings, etc.  The building was ready for occupancy in August 1913.  It is described elsewhere in this brochure.

The Parish and the World War

  When, on April 6, 1917, Congress declared that a state of war existed between the United States and the Imperial German Government, the Pro-Cathedral parish entered serious and wholeheartedly into the task of aiding Uncle Sam in his efforts to further the cause of the Allies.  Father Cullen exhorted the people from pulpit and platform to do all they could to sustain the morale of the boys who joined the colors.

  The available records show a roster of 491 men in the different branches of the service and four nurses.  Many of the former sealed their patriotism with the stamp of death on the fields of France and elsewhere, while others came through their fiery ordeal with maimed bodies and shelf-shocked minds mere wrecks of the vigorous manhood and buoyant strength with which they marched away so proudly at their country's call.

  These hopeless invalids will never forget the horrors of war as they pass their monotonous days in hospital or sanitarium awaiting the end of a life sacrificed for their country's weal just as truly as that of those who met death in the front trenches or on No Man's Land.

  A center for organized war work, under the direction of the Red Cross, was established in the parish school and there {Page 60} the women met to do their bit.
       They prepared surgical dressings, hospital garments, comfort kits, knitted articles-sweaters, socks, caps, etc.-and sent packages to the boys in service at home and "over there." They furnished garments for refugees, adopted French war orphans and participated in the food conservation campaign.

  The parishioners, both men and women, bought Liberty Bonds, Thrift and War Saving Stamps, contributed to the War Chest and Knights of Columbus fund, and actively participated in "drives" for these and other purposes.  Not a few took part in the program for Americanization in the schools and elsewhere and helped to educate foreign groups in the principles of American citizenship.  Thus, by manpower, money, supplies and personal service did the people of the parish help the United States to "make the world safe for democracy.

Archbishop Ireland Educational Fund

In the fall of 1920, a campaign for five million dollars to meet the educational needs of the Archdiocese by subsidizing existing institutions and building new ones as needed was carried on under the direction of Archbishop Dowling.  An appeal for cooperation was made to clergy and laity and special collectors were deputed to make a thorough canvas of the parishes in an effort to secure cash donations or pledges payable over a period of five years.

     The Pro-Cathedral congregation responded very generously to a fervid appeal by the pastor and pledges totaling three hundred ninety-one thousand, nine hundred thirty-three dollars and sixty-two cents were secured.  About one-third of this amount was pledged by people from different parts of the state and from many sections of the country who happened to be in the church on the Sunday set apart for that purpose.  In justice, therefore, this amount should not have been charged against the parish.  Before the five-year period came to a close, the financial condition of many who made substantial pledges changed to such an extent that it was necessary for them to ask for cancellations in whole or in part.  Nevertheless, the total paid contribution of the parish to the educational fund {Page 61}amounted to two hundred six thousand, nine hundred ninety-seven dollars and fifty-six Cents.

Inspiring Leadership

No one is deserving of more credit than Father Cullen
for the work done in completing the exterior of the Basilica. 

      From the very inception of the project he was indefatigable in his efforts to make it a success.  His unbounded enthusiasm, untiring energy and prudent zeal inspired and encouraged the parishioners who vied with one another in their efforts to respond to his every appeal for financial and moral support.  Without obtruding his leadership he directed the people in the work of building a church worthy of their sterling faith and self-sacrificing generosity; and his achievements will never be forgotten by those who labored with him or under his enlightened guidance.

Father Reardon's Pastorate

        In the meantime a change of pastors had taken place. In August 1921, Father Cullen, who had served the parish with distinction for nineteen years, was named President of the College of St. Thomas, and the Reverend James M. Reardon, pastor of the Church of St. Mary, St. Paul, and Editor-in-Chief of The Catholic Bulletin, was placed in charge by the Most Reverend Archbishop Dowling.
     There was still much to be done before the Pro-Cathedral, as it was then called, crystallized the artist's idea of a temple worthy of the Most High. It lacked the full vesture of architectural beauty and splendor to which it was born, and with which its sponsors vowed to enrich it.  The stately grandeur of its imposing exterior postulated an interior loveliness unsurpassed by anything in the land.  "The beauty of the King's daughter is from within"; and beauteous, indeed, must be the adornment of sanctuary and nave to realize the ideal suggested by the entrancing sweep of granite wall and high flung cross outlined against the sky to tell to worshipping throngs the sublime purpose of its being.
      The church itself rises from the centre of a plat of ground 300 by 400 feet in dimensions, fronts on the chief thoroughfare of the city and lifts wall and tower and dome high above its surroundings, so as to be seen from afar as one approaches or leaves the business district.

  Like a queen the noble edifice sits enthroned on the one site in Minneapolis carved out by nature, as it were, for a glorious tabernacle to enshrine the Savior of mankind-a city block extensive enough to provide grassy swards from areaway to sidewalk and to give assurance that, in days to come, no building will encroach upon it and mar its matchless setting.

Completing the Interior

      Many who saw its foundation stone laid deep and secure in the bosom of mother earth did not live to gaze upon its {Page 65}  Go to Part II here
Father Ireland forgot to announce the collection