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Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Denver) facts for kids

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Cathedral Basilica of the
Immaculate Conception
Denver, Church of the Immaculate Conception.jpg
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Denver) is located in Colorado
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Denver)
Location in Colorado
39°44′25.01″N 104°58′54.98″W / 39.7402806°N 104.9819389°W / 39.7402806; -104.9819389
Location 401 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, Colorado
Country United States
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Founded 1860
Consecrated 1921
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1902
Completed 1911
Capacity 800
Number of spires Two
Spire height 210 ft (64 m)
Materials Granite, Limestone
Archdiocese Archdiocese of Denver

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Denver of the Roman Catholic Church. It is located at the corner of Logan Street and Colfax Avenue in the North Capitol Hill neighborhood of central Denver.


Construction of the cathedral started in 1902 and was completed in 1911 with a final cost of approximately $500,000. The inaugural Mass was held on October 27, 1912, and consecration was in 1921. On August 7, 1912, lightning struck the west tower causing damage to the upper 25 feet (7.6 m); however, this was repaired before the opening.

The cathedral was raised to the status of minor basilica on Christmas Day 1979. On August 13 and 14, 1993 (for World Youth Day), Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at the cathedral, one of only a few cathedrals in the United States so honored. In June 1997, lightning struck a second time, but this time damaged the east tower. The parish completed work to restore the tower within eight months.

During the first days of the George Floyd protests from 29 May to 1 June 2020, the Cathedral Basilica was vandalized multiple times by protesters and damaged by responding police. Damage included arson, spray-painted anti-Catholic phrases, and tear gas penetrating the building. Nobody in the Cathedral Basilica was injured during the protests.


Architect Leon Coquard of Detroit designed the cathedral in the French Gothic style. Its character is influenced by the 13th-century Saint Nicholas Collegiate church (collégiale Saint-Nicolas) of Munster, Moselle, France, which is the birthplace of Bishop Nicholas Chrysostom Matz, who supervised cathedral construction.

The building is in the shape of a Latin cross measuring 195 by 116 feet (59 by 35 m) with the nave rising to 68 feet (21 m). The main façade houses three entrances and is framed by two 210-foot (64 m) spires. The structure is constructed of Indiana limestone and granite from Gunnison, Colorado. The altar, statuary, and bishop's chair are all made of Carrara marble, while other elements feature Yule marble stone from Marble, Colorado. The 75 stained glass windows are from the Royal Bavarian Art Institute in Munich founded by Franz Xaver Zettler. When opened, the cathedral could accommodate 1,000 worshipers. However, due to significant alterations in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council (including the removal of the historic stone altar rail and the expansion of the chancel to accommodate a second, freestanding altar) the church now accommodates only 800.


The cathedral offers three daily and six Sunday Masses as well as other sacraments regularly. Additional services to the community include the yearly provision of 50,000 - 60,000 lunches to the poor in the area.

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