Because the cathedral was built during a time of persecution and discrimination toward Catholics, there are no original side windows on the building. During those times, the windows would have likely been broken by vandals. Natural light is admitted through the clerestory windows close to the ceiling. These are of lightly tinted glass and carry simple religious symbols as their most prominent decoration.
A cathedral church is the principal church of a diocese, because it is here that the bishop or ordinary of the diocese has his throne, or Cathedra.
On September 27, 1976, Pope Paul VI named the Cathedral a Basilica. This honor was given to the church for hosting the 41st International Eucharistic Congress.