Sacred Heart Cathedral (Davenport)

Sacred Heart Cathedral (Davenport)

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Davenport, Iowa is the Cathedral parish for the Diocese of Davenport. The Cathedral is located at 422 East Tenth Street in Davenport.


The parish traces its history back to 1856, when population growth in the city of Davenport led the Dubuque Diocese to decide to establish a new parish in Davenport. Antoine and Marguerite LeClaire donated the parcel of land. Bishop Loras of Dubuque laid the cornerstone for this parish. Antoine directed the construction of the church, which was named St. Margaret in honor of Antoine's wife and St. Margaret of Scotland.

On June 14, 1881 Pope Leo XIII established the Diocese of Davenport. John McMullen was chosen as the first Bishop, and he made St. Margaret's his Cathedral parish.

In 1889, Bishop Cosgrove decided that a new, larger church should be built. The plans called for a church Bedford stone, mined in Indiana. The Ecclesiological Society, which had a mission of preserving Gothic architecture, was an influence in the church design. The church was built on the English parish church model. On April 27, 1890 the cornerstone for the new building was laid. The church was finished in 1891, and the building was dedicated on November 15, 1891. Bishop Cosgrove requested permission from the Pope to name this new church Sacred Heart Cathedral. Leo XIII granted this permission on the grounds that a chapel dedicated to St. Margaret was maintained in the church. Sacred Heart Cathedral was the first Cathedral to be dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Lightning hit the building on August 20, 1928. The lightning sparked a fire between the slates of the roof and the ceiling. This caused extensive smoke and water damage to the church. Services were held in St. Margaret's chapel during the repairs. The church was repainted in a Gothic design. In order to hide the damage, the woodwork was stained a dark English oak color.

In the 1960's, the parish implemented the changes mandated by the Second Vatican Council. This included setting up a new main altar that faced the congregration. The masses were celebrated in English instead of Latin. The communion rail and the pulpit were removed. The Bishop's chair was moved so that he would face the congregration.

Extensive renovations were done in the early 1990's. These renovations were made possible through the result of generosity of a member of the parish who included the parish in her will. This included replacing the roof and repainting the interior of the church. Also the original Kilgen pipe organ was removed, and replaced with a new Noack pipe organ.

External links

* [ Sacred Heart Catheral's Web Site]

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