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St. Francis Xavier Cathedral (Alexandria, Louisiana) facts for kids

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St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral - Alexandria, Louisiana 01.JPG
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in 2014
31°18′44.3″N 92°26′52.1″W / 31.312306°N 92.447806°W / 31.312306; -92.447806Coordinates: 31°18′44.3″N 92°26′52.1″W / 31.312306°N 92.447806°W / 31.312306; -92.447806
Location 626 Fourth St.
Alexandria, Louisiana
Country United States
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
History
Founded 1834
Consecrated 30 November 1899
Architecture
Architect(s) Nicholas J. Clayton
Style Late Gothic revival
Beaux Arts
Bungalow
Groundbreaking 1895 (1895)
Completed 1899
Specifications
Materials Brick, pine
Administration
Diocese Alexandria in Louisiana
Clergy
Bishop(s) Most Rev. Robert W. Marshall
Rector Rev. James A. Ferguson
Vicar(s) Rev. Bob Garrione
Deacon(s) Richard Mitchell
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Complex
Area 2 acres (0.81 ha)
NRHP reference No. 84001353
Added to NRHP 29 March 1984

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria, located in Alexandria, Louisiana.

The cathedral and related buildings was added to the National Register of Historic Places on 29 March 1984 as St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Complex. The complex includes the cathedral building, St. Francis Academy (erected in 1897), and the rectory (erected in 1896 and renovated in 1930).

History

The old parish church of Saint Francis was constructed in 1817. It was the only building in Alexandria spared during the American Civil War. As the Union army pulled out of the town during the disastrous Red River Campaign, Father J. P. Bellier disguised his voice to impersonate that of General Nathaniel Banks, the Union commanding officer, and ordered the troops to spare the church. His plan succeeded and the building was saved.

The old building burned down in 1895. Efforts to rebuild a church started immediately. The foundation stone was laid down on 3 December 1895. Designed in Gothic revival style by Nicholas J. Clayton, the new church was dedicated on 30 November 1899, the first brick church in the city. In 1907, a belfry was added, and the clock was installed in 1908.

Because of the newly constructed church and Alexandria's central location, Bishop Cornelius Van de Ven petitioned the Roman Curia to transfer the seat of the diocese from Natchitoches to Alexandria. Pope Pius X granted this wish, changing the title to Diocese of Alexandria on 6 August 1910 and designating St. Francis Xavier Church as the cathedral of the newly created diocese.

The current bishop of Alexandria is Sede Vacante, and the rector of the cathedral is Father James A. Ferguson.

Interior

The cathedral's rose windows are the largest in the state. The cathedral boasts a 3-manual, 48-rank Reuterpipe organ inaugurated in 2004.

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