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History of the Basilica Cathedral of
St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church
St. John's



On May 20, 1841, following a religious procession through the streets of Victorian St. John's, Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming blessed the corner-stone for the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John's. Stone for the building came from Newfoundland and Irish Sites, and construction proceeded on the designs of German architect C. Schmidt, Irish architects J.J. Butler, William Deane, John Jones and others, with final modifications by Bishop Fleming himself. Both Catholics and Protestants eagerly worked on the project, but delays in construction were many.On January 6, 1850, Bishop Fleming celebrated the First Mass in his unfinished cathedral and on July 14 of that year he died and was laid to rest in the cathedral crypt.

The Cathedral was completed by Bishop Fleming's successor, Bishop John T. Mullock, and consecrated on September 9, 1855, with the Archbishop of New York, John Hughes, in attendance. At that time the Cathedral was one of the largest church buildings in British North America, measuring 246 feet long, 180 feet across the transept, 55 feet high inside, and having a seating capacity of 2000. Together its twin towers, 150 feet high, hold a town clock and nine Irish bells, including the prizewinning two-ton St. John Bell, cast in 1850 by James Murphy of Dublin. In 1955, on the Centenary of its consecration. Pope Pius XII bestowed upon the cathedral the rank of Minor Basilica, an honorary title meaning "Royal House" or "House of the Emperor", in recognition of its outstanding architectural, artistic, and historical significance.

When Fleming became the Vicar Apostolic of Newfoundland the only Roman Catholic place of worship in St. John's was ``a rude, ill-shaped wooden building falling to ruin,'' known as the Old Chapel.

Information and Records for Basilica Cathedral
of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church
St. John's

The Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist - St. John's
200 Military Road
St. John's, Newfoundland
A1C 2E8

Telephone and Fax #
(709) 754-2170
Fax #:(709) 754-5608

e-mail address:
Larry Dohey

Home page:

Rev. Joseph Barton

Ms. Anne Carew

Following are the records that are available for research at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center at 49 Bonaventure Avenue and also at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL). The NLGS also has a copy of these Parish records as well.

Baptisms 	(1802-1836) 	Box 1 				
Reel # 18 (1802-1836) (1820-36 indexed) 
Baptisms 	(1820-1836) 	Box 2 	(indexed) 		
Reel # 17 (1820-1854) 
Baptisms 	(1837-1848) 	Box 3 	(indexed) 
Baptisms 	(1849-1854) 	Box 4 	(indexed) 
Baptisms 	(1855-1861) 	Box 5 	(indexed) 
Baptisms 	(1861-1872) 	Box 6 	(indexed) 
Baptisms 	(1873-1886) 	Box 7 	(indexed) 
Baptisms 	(1886-1897) 	Box 11 	(indexed) 
Baptisms 	(1897-1905) 	Box 12 	(indexed) 
Marriages 	(1793-1855) 	Box 8 	(indexed - some yrs. 	
Reel # 18 (1793-1882) Not indexed) 
Marriages 	(1855-1890) 	Box 9 	(indexed) 
Marriages 	(1891-1899) 	Box 10 	(indexed) 
NLGS 		(1855-1905) 	Box 13 	(index of)		
Names and Baptisms from NLGS)

Anyone researching the Hr. Main District should always check the earlier records at the Basilica for baptisms and marriages.

There are no Vital Statistics Volumes (DPHW) available for this Parish They do have the All Newfoundland Births - Vital Statistics Division microfilm available for this parish at the PANL for the period from 1891 to1926 for baptisms and from 1891 to 1922 for marriages.

There are no death records available for the Basilica Parish as none were ever kept. There are microfilms at the PANL from the Vital Statistics Division from 1891 to 1949 for deaths.

The following Cemeteries were used:

1. Belvedere Catholic Cemetery located in St. John's, with entry gates on Newtown Road, Bonaventure Avenue and Mayor Avenue, is the oldest cemetery and is now closed. It is used only if someone is cremated or if someone already has a plot there.

2. Mount Carmel Cemetery located on the Boulevard in St. John's is the second oldest cemetery and is now closed. It is used only if someone is cremated or if someone already has a plot there.

3. Holy Sepulchre Cemetery located on Topsail Road in Mount Pearl is the newest cemetery (opened in the last 30 years)

(A transcript of these cemeteries can be found at the Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogical Society (NLGS)

A list of Priests who have served the Basilica Parish:

Will be added as soon as I receive it from Larry Dohey.



I would like to thank Ann Carew for sending the brochure on the
history of the Basiilica and to Larry Dohey for the picture

Contributed by Barbara McGrath (July 2000)

Page Revised: July 2002 (Don Tate)

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