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Shrines and Holy Places
The Cathedral of St. Thomas More
3901 Cathedral Lane
Arlington, Virginia 22203
The parish of St. Thomas More was founded in 1938. Parishioners attended Mass in what is today the St. Thomas More School gym.
The Diocese of Arlington was founded on August 13, 1974. The parish church was raised to a cathedral.
Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception
232 Chapel Street
Norfolk, VA 23504
The parish began in 1791 as Saint Patrick Church with French and Irish Catholic immigrants to the United States as its first members.
The first church was built in 1842. At the time, the church was segregated. Pastor, Fr. Matthew O’Keefe permitted African American Catholics to sit in a portion of the choir loft. Local Know Nothings threatened him and demanded segregated Masses, which he refused to do. Thugs tried to intimidate white parishioners until Fr. O’Keefe obtained police protection. The original church destroyed by fire in 1856.
The present church was built in 1858. It was dedicated under the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception in commemoration of the Marian dogma proclaimed in 1854 by Pope Pius IX.
Josephite Fathers (The Saint Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart) arrived from Richmond in 1889 to serve the spiritual needs of the black community and by September of that year, Saint Joseph Black Catholic parish was founded.
In 1961, St. Joseph's was clustered with St. Mary. After an extensive renovation and restoration program, the newly renovated/restored edifice was rededicated on November 1, 1989. Today, St. Mary Catholic Church is ninety-nine percent African American.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Church, December 8, 1991, Pope John Paul II proclaimed the Church of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception a minor basilica. In his proclamation, the Pope said, "Your black cultural heritage enriches the church and makes her witness of universality more complete. In a real way the church needs you, just as you need the church, for you are a part of the church and the church is part of you."
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
18 N. Laurel Street
Richmond, VA 23220
The first cathedral in Richmond, St. Peter's, was completed in 1834. It functioned as a hospital during the Civil War and now serves a downtown parish.
Richmond's Catholic community was growing. Between 1867 and 1884 purchased the Construction of the cathedral began on June 4, 1903. On November 29, 1906 thousands of people filled the Cathedral for the Dedication. A 61-bell note Carillon made by Van Bergen Foundries, Inc. of Charleston was installed in 1995.
The Cathedral is now a Virginia Historic Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and received the Historic Richmond Foundation's 1992 Award of Achievement for its restoration.
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