Duluth – Cathedral of OL of the Rosary

When traveling it is nice to visit churches if the area, especially cathedrals.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. John Enright says:

    This is what I like; a very humble approach.

  2. Jack Hughes says:

    humble but very elegant

  3. mhittle says:

    Whenever I travel, I make it a point to visit the Catholic Church(es) in the area. And I cross my fingers, hoping that at it’s an old, beautiful one.

  4. adamwelp says:

    Kind of reminds me of St. Benedict’s Cathedral in Evansville, Indiana. Though, St. Ben’s has a large baldacchino over the altar.

  5. patrick_f says:

    I like the arangement of the windows behind the altar. Around vespers during a summer day it must be quit contemplative

  6. John Enright says:

    I agree that it is elegant. When I said humble, I was thinking of the Christ Child, born in a simple stable.

  7. When I was a kid we lived in Duluth from June of 1973 to December of 1976. Back then it was called Holy Rosary, not OL of the Rosary. I attended the grade school across the street and was an altar boy in the cathedral. I can’t remember if the interior was whitewashed then as shown the pictures.

    The school was staffed by Dominican nuns who (at that time) lived in a home nearby that had once belonged to Sinclair Lewis. Interestingly, their mother house is the Dominican mother house in Springfield, Illinois, where I live now (about two blocks from the mother house, in fact). I’ve run into one or two of the nuns from those days, including my old principal.

    Thanks for the pictures father! All my fondest childhood memories are about Duluth.

  8. ray from mn says:

    Ah HAH! The missing link to the Castle Danger post!!

    My graduating class in 1960 at Duluth Cathedral was the first one to have its commencement ceremony in the brand new Cathedral, “Holy Rosary.” I’m not sure what its official name was.

    It is a beautiful church. And the site has a magnificent view of Lake Superior. I’ve been waiting a long time, though, for somebody’s legacy to provide some stained glass windows for the building.

    A note to foster humility: Just because you leave town to get a job, it doesn’t mean they won’t forget you. I received an email last weekend informing me that our 50th reunion is scheduled for next Labor Day weekend. This was my first communication from the class in a long time.

    Appended was a note informing the others that I had been removed from the “Requiescant in Pace” list.

  9. I made a few phone calls and confirmed it. The interior was NOT whitewashed like that when we lived there, but was very ornate. Ditto the sanctuary. Whatever is in it now, in the picture above, it is not the high altar that was there in the ’70s. I think the “table” is the same though.

    Did you get any pictures of the school, father? The angle from which you shot the front of the church looks like you were standing about where my before- and after-school post was when I was a crossing guard in sixth grade.

  10. I remember visiting Duluth. I saw the Cathedral in the morning. But having traveled most of the day to get there, I missed morning Mass the day before. Trying to find a refuge that evening, I thought that I would walk up to the Catholic Church and see if I could just sit in holy sanctuary and in our Lord’s Presence. I was kind of dejected as all the doors were locked, so I sat on the steps with my back on the wall of the entrance (I have done that before in other places knowing our Lord is inside). Something made me take a walk around the whole building before heading back to my hotel for dinner. It was then that I found the The Holy Innocents Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel non-descriptly as a side door at St. Mary Star of the Sea. I found a prayer there that I still rely upon and later found a Prayer Card with the same prayer to Jesus Mary and Joseph for protection of little ones against abortion through spiritual adoption.

    These little pilgrimages often turn up some of the best spritual gifts. In case you may not know where to go, you can always find a Church through http://www.masstimes.org. I make it part of my travel plans wherever I go. Some I return to others I dust off my feet and move on.

  11. Shzilio says:

    I think the interior is pretty but not as beautiful as it should be. It just seems a bit bare. I love the stone floor but the dome above the tabernacle should be painted with a glorious mural that lifts ones eyes to the heavens and the ceiling as well. Garrison Keilor says that people in Minnesota are stoic people, the type who will apologize if they walk into a room they expect to be empty and find someone else in there. I remember him commenting that should it happen they would say, “Oh, sorry I didn’t realize you were in here.” Or perhaps he just meant the Lutherans who populated the state. I tend to think this cathedral has a bit too much of a reformist appearance. Still, Jesus is in there so if the Church can provide the grace, God can provide the beauty.

  12. Shzilio says:

    And at least it isn’t “church in the round” or octagon or whatever other strange tetris shapes people come up with for churches that doesn’t include the cuboid.

  13. DetJohn says:

    Very nice indeed.

  14. joecct77 says:

    I will be in Duluth over Thanksgiving for the St. Scholastica hockey tournament. Where is the church in relation to the Fairfield Inn?

  15. Lee says:

    Is there a communion rail? It probably went out with the whitewash. And I don’t see any statues. Perhaps they are hidden from view. It all just looks rather stark.

  16. TMM says:

    Joecct77: Your best bet would be to attend St. Benedict’s. It is only a few miles away for the hotel you are staying it. It is probably the best one to go and probably the most orthodox of all the parishes in Duluth.

  17. Agnes says:


  18. Gee, that was our parish when we first moved to Duluth. What a nice shot! The diocesan offices are across the street. We we moved back to town (after grad school) we moved to the West End, St. James Parish there.

    ps: “Holy Rosary” was always a nickname, I’m sure; the dedicated title, though less seldomly used then, was Our Lady of the Rosary, I’m pretty sure.

  19. twherge says:

    I love that architectural style, but it is supposed to be much more ornate (like my parish which I am detailing on my website right now), and I gather it was once like that. Nonetheless, the “renovations” could not make this cathedral ugly.

  20. Charivari Rob says:

    Reminds me a bit of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Trenton (NJ), which was built around the same time. I did a quick search, but couldn’t find out if the same architect was involved in both projects. Anyone familiar with those details?


    By the way, in my search, I found a site with an interesting photo of the inside of Holy Rosary. Click on the photo to compile a panoramic image.


  21. kelleyb says:

    This Cathedral is three blocks from my sister’s home. It is a beautiful prayerful church.

  22. ray from mn says:

    “Holy Rosary” is not that far from Scholastica. Every Good Friday the local Communion & Liberation group has a procession between the two, a distance of about three miles southeast of Scholastica.

    The Fairfield Inn is probably an equal distance in the opposite direction.

  23. priest up north says:

    The Cathedral has been subject to recent modifications (or restorations) by our last bishop (Archbishop Schnurr, coadjutor of Cincinnati). Thus, it is much better than it had been. In the 1980s, the windows of which patrick_f speak were covered over, only to be uncovered about three or four years ago. The calls for a mural above the altar are certainly good, though earlier attempts at such were nothing short of scary. Perhaps our next bishop (please God, that he will be appointed soon), will have some good ideas to continue to restore and beautify the church.

    As for the naming, the name Holy Rosary goes back to the parish that was part of what is now Holy Rosary School. Holy Rosary Church (what is now the auditorium/gymnasium of the school) was replaced by what is now the “new” cathedral (though built in the 1950s, replacing the “Sacred Heart Cathedral” that was downtown). When the parish became the cathedral, it was dedicated as “Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary,” though the parish school is still called “Holy Rosary.”

    As for distance and directions from the Fairfield Inn, it is about a 10-15 minute drive (Duluth infrastructure is not well thought out) that I would suggest using Mapquest or a gps, as there might be several routes that would be useable, though not very direct. It is indeed close to St. Scholastica (about 5 minutes), but about 5-10 minutes from “Mars Lakeview Arena”, which I presume is the sight of joecct77’s mentioned hockey tournament (there is no ice arena on St. Scholastica’s campus, so this is their “home” rink).

    Thanks Fr. Z. for the photos.

  24. irishgirl says:

    Interesting ceiling-is that a ‘coffered’ style?

    Not too bad-looking….

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