Officially elevated to a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI on October 4, 2005, the St. Francis Cathedral Basilica is a Catholic sanctuary that provides a place for worship. Be one of the many visitors that explores the basilica each year. From the architecture of the building to the incredible art within, uncover the history of the St. Francis Cathedral Basilica during your time in Santa Fe.
Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, the St. Francis Cathedral Basilica dramatically contrasts with the surrounding adobe structures. Influenced by French-born Archbishop Lamy, the Saint Francis Cathedral was built from yellow limestone blocks and features round arches separated by Corinthian columns and truncated square towers. As you enter the cathedral basilica you’ll see figures of St. Francis of Assisi that were erected during a renovation in 1967, Saint Kateri who lived between 1655 and1680 and was known as the first North American to be beatified and Father John Baptist Lamy, installed as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Santa Fe in 1850.
The cathedral basilica’s interior is a feast for the eyes. Dating back over a century ago guests are welcome to delight in the many works of art and artifacts found throughout that are of great historical significance.
Made of Brazilian granite, the baptismal font is the focal point of the main nave and represents Easter, marking God’s new creation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Created by Marie Romero and Robert Montoya, Stations of the Cross, an artistic representation of Christ carrying the cross to his crucifixion is another highlight that can be seen in the main nave.
The Main Altar
To the east of the main nave you’ll find the main altar. Hanging above the altar is a replica of the San Damiano Crucifix found in Assisi, Italy where Catholics believe the Lord once gave the commission to St Francis of Assisi to rebuild his church. Created in 1986 for the Cathedral’s 100th anniversary, a reredos can be seen sitting at the back of the altar. At the middle of the reredos is an 18th century statue of St. Francis and surrounding the statue are paintings of the saints of the New World.
Reserved for prayer, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is known for its stained glass windows made in France. Representing the Eucharist, intricate carvings of the Apostles and the Holy Family can be seen etched into the stained glass windows.