CATHEDRAL OF SAINT MARY OF THE ASSUMPTION
At the intersection of Second and Spring Streets, Fall River, Massachusetts
327 Second Street
Fall River, MA 02721
Phone: (508) 673-2833
Fax: (508) 672-0667
Rector: Rev. John C. Ozug
St. Mary’s Cathedral is the spiritual center of the
Fall River Diocese. It is the principal
church of the Diocese where the bishop has his chair – in Greek, cathedra-
and where the Catholic community gathers with its bishop to celebrate the great
feasts and important happenings in the life of this local church.
The Cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin
Mary, patroness of the diocese, under her title of Our Lady of the Assumption.
Built originally to serve as a parish church, St.
Mary’s was solemnly consecrated by Bishop Matthew Harkins of Providence on
September 7, 1901. It became the
Cathedral Church when the Fall River Diocese was created in 1904 by Pope Pius
The cornerstone of the Cathedral was laid on August
8, 1852, by Bishop John Fitzpatrick of Boston whose jurisdiction then included
all of the state of Massachusetts. A
small wooden church dedicated to St. John the Baptist already stood on the
site, but was too small to serve the rapidly growing parish.
St. Mary’s Cathedral was designed in the Gothic
style by renowned architect Patrick C. Keeley of Brooklyn and built of native
granite. It was dedicated by Bishop
Fitzpatrick on December 16, 1855. The
steeple was completed three years later in 1858. Its spire, surmounted by a gilded cross, rises 190 feet above
Two chapels adjoin the Cathedral. The Lady Chapel, situated on the Second
Street side of the building, was completed in 1869 and serves as a Blessed
Sacrament chapel where daily Mass is offered.
The Bishop’s Chapel, on the other side, was completed in 1935 and is
dedicated to the English martyrs, Saints John Fisher and Thomas More. Beneath the chapel is the Bishops’ Crypt,
where four bishops of Fall River are buried.
The windows in the Church date back to different times. Those in the nave are the oldest. Of German origin, they were installed in
1891. The sanctuary windows were
designed in Brooklyn and installed in 1915.
The three lancet windows above the choir loft, commemorating the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, were designed in Boston and installed in
Over the years, the Cathedral has been beautified in
four major renovations: in 1890-1891,
in 1912-1913, in 1951 and in 1978-79, in time for the seventy-fifth anniversary
celebration of the Fall River Diocese.
In this last renovation the principal objective was to provide a setting
for divine worship in keeping with the liturgical renewal fostered by the
Second Vatican Council.