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Rest of the World, Vancouver — By thevancouverguide on December 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm

A Festive Birthday for a Grand Old Cathedral

During this festive season, with all the special music events and preparations for Christmas, the Holy Rosary Cathedral,  Vancouver’s main Catholic church, has something special to celebrate.  Today,  December 8, 2009 is the Cathedral’s 109th birthday!  And over the Christmas holidays there will be special masses as well a music concerts held there.DSC03773

The Cathedral is one of Vancouver’s heritage buildings.  The parish began in June 1885 when Father Patrick Fay, chaplin to CPR railway workers, was appointed to care for the two settlments of Granville (Gastown). He said the first mass on the Feast of the Holy Rosary 1885.  By the following year there were 69 Catholic families in the parish and a church building was needed.  Father Fay chose the site by looking up the slopes of the uncut forest from the waterfront and pointing to the tallest tree.  The land was aquired, and the first church was built from wood cut in the forest. 

By 1898 a more permanent church was built.  It opened on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception December 8, 1900 and was regarded as ‘the finest piece of architecture west of Toronto and north of San Francisco’.  The Cathedral was built in 490 days, designed in a French Gothic style. with a pointed arch, vaulted ceiling and large stained glass windows.  Some renovations were made in 1983-84 in preparation for the visit of Pope John Paul 1st and other renos have been made since then including restoration of the Cathedral organ.

On Friday, December 11 at 8 pm a concert of Advent Music for Choir and Organ will be held in the Cathedral performed by the Cathedral’s own musicians: organist Denis Bedard and the Cathedral Choir, assistant organist Catherine Walsh and the Holy Rosary Women’s Choir and the Contemporary Choir with director Chito Lacsina.

Several special Christmas Masses will be held beginning Thursday December 24 including a midnight mass with music and candles at 11 pm.  There is also a New Years day mass celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a Holy day of Obligation beginning at 8 am and throughout the day to 8 pm.

The Holy Rosary Cathedral

646 Richards St.

TEL: 604-682-6774

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