Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Sacramento, CA

The centerpiece church of the Diocese of Sacramento, the majestic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, is a physical marker in the historical development of Sacramento. The building has been changed, but unmoved over its 131-year history as documented in a book by the Cathedral Rector Emeritus who oversaw the 2005 Restoration, Reverend Monsignor James T. Murphy (see reference below).

The towering neo-Italian Renaissance structure, dedicated in 1889, sits along a main thoroughfare of downtown Sacramento very near the California State Capitol. The first Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, the Most Reverend Bishop Patrick Manogue considered this location to be very important as he wanted people to see, “Church and State, two important institutions, each pursuing the common good for society, but from different angles.” (Quotation from the Cathedral website referenced below.) The triple-towered structure, topped by seven crosses and a large central dome, is the masterpiece of Bishop Manogue, who envisioned a church like the Englise de la Sainte-Trinite (Church of the Holy Trinity) in Paris near the seminary where he studied. The interior of the building inspires wonder from every angle in its Victorian-era design, and is difficult to see the entire panoply from a single location.

The historic structure was fully restored in 2005 bringing back the best of the original design with some enhancements. Of special import during the “2005 Restoration” was the return of the spectacular 115-foot-high inner dome over the main altar which is topped by a white and blue oculus housing an image of the Holy Spirit as a dove. The church contains many lovely statues, a rare piece of artwork of the Sistine Madonna and numerous exceptionally beautiful stained-glass windows. Enshrined in the main altar is a relic of Saint Toribio Romo who was martyred in the Cristero War during the persecution of the Church in Mexico in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

The Cathedral is home to all important ecclesiastical events, but also serves Bishop Manogue’s original desire to have the church bind together pursuits of both the sacred and the secular; and is the location for many community events and concerts. Of course, the church is also the site of a functioning parish and (under normal circumstances) holds weekday Masses at 12:10 and 5 p.m. with the noontime Mass being very popular with the many State of California workers employed around the site. The Cathedral holds a 5 pm Saturday evening Mass, as well as seven Masses on Sunday including two Masses in Spanish and one in a Chinese language.

Address: 1019 11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 444-3071


All websites were accessed on or about 3-1-2021 and are considered to be useful, reliable and secure, but users should view the websites at their own discretion. The author or the website is not responsible for those sites’ code or content.

Avella, Steven M., Fr. Sacramento and the Catholic Church, Shaping a Capital City. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2008.

Cathedral of Sacramento –

Diocese of Sacramento –

Murphy, James T., Reverend Monsignor. A Pilgrim’s Guide to Sacramento’s Cathedral. France: Editions du Signe, 2006.

Murphy, James T., Reverend Monsignor. Saints and Sinners in the Cristero War. San Francisco: Saint Ignatius Press, 2019.

Exterior – Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The center spire of the Cathedral rises 217 feet from the Cathedral Square in the midst of a slowly revitalizing downtown core with State of California workers mixing with the homeless in the large plaza in front of the Cathedral. The gathering space is connected by a pleasant walkable passage to the California State Capitol only one block to the south.

History in the Vestibule – Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The importance of the recognition of the early “developers” of the area, from both the Church and State perspective, is apparent when one enters the vestibule of the church through one of three large doors on the west end (front) of the Cathedral. There are two cartouches (a painting depicting a scroll) of important figures in the history of Northern California, and a plaque commemorating the Cathedral’s founder.

Stained-Glass Windows – Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The celestial experience of the Cathedral would be difficult to imagine without the multitude of stained-glass windows which bathe the interior with grace from the outside. The windows have been mounted over time from the original construction of the church, up to the most recent installations for the 100th anniversary of the building in 1989.

Stations of the Cross – Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The scenes of Jesus’ walk to His Crucifixion at Golgotha, the Stations of the Cross, are shown in two places in the Cathedral. The first is within the insets in the stained-glass windows lining the side walls of the nave. The second, more prominent depiction is in the oil paintings which line the side walls of the nave.

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