From the Archives: Our First Cathedral

A full St. Columba Cathedral circa 1943.

St. Columba became our mother church when the Diocese of Youngstown was established in 1943. Our first cathedral, seen here, was the third church that the parish had built since it was formed in 1847. This elaborate Gothic structure was made of granite from the Catskill Mountains and could be seen for miles around. Father Edward Mears, the St. Columba pastor who initiated construction of this building in the 1890s, was said to have often stated that he was building a cathedral—indicating both the grandness of the structure and the anticipation of the people’s anticipation that there would one day be a diocese with Youngstown as the seat of the bishop.

The cathedra, the chair of the bishop, was installed in this church in 1943. It can be seen between the main altar in the center of the photo and the Marian altar on the left. Lightning struck this building on September 2, 1954, and fire consumed it beyond saving. Our current cathedral opened in 1958.

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Picture of Joan Lawson

Joan Lawson

Joan is the Chancellor and Diocesan Archivist for the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.
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