Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
1114 Virginia Street
Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia, 25301
The Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is a cathedral church and a Minor Basilica located in Charleston, West Virginia.
Along with the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling it is the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
Sacred Heart parish was established on August 1, 1866, when Bishop Whelan, who was now Bishop of Wheeling, purchased the Dunbar property in Charleston. A two-story brick building served as a church and school. In 1869, the congregation constructed a frame church measuring 60 by 25 feet (18.3 m × 7.6 m).
In 1885, Father Stenger began collecting funds for a new church and prominent Protestants also provided financial assistance. The congregation celebrated its first Mass in the present church Christmas in 1897.
Father Stenger died in 1900 and in April 1901 Capuchin friars began their ministry at Sacred Heart. They constructed a new rectory the following year and made additions to the church building in the first decade of the 20th century. The first pipe organ came to the sanctuary in 1905. The marble high altar and stained glass windows from Munich, Germany followed in 1909.
The three bells placed in the tower in 1911 are named: St. Richard, St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin.
In 1948, the congregation purchased a Wurlitzer electronic organ for $4,500.00 to replace the old pipe organ. The St. Cecilia's Guild started a weekly bingo to raise the money for a new Kilgen pipe organ.
The interior of the church was extensively renovated from 1950-1951 and the front portion of the current rectory was completed the following year. The present pews were installed in the church in 1958.
On October 4, 1974, Pope Paul VI renamed the Diocese of Wheeling as the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and Sacred Heart Church became the co-cathedral for the diocese. In the first decade of the 21st century the parish purchased the parking lot of the Charleston newspaper, remodeled the Cenacle Retreat property for parish office space and apartments for the parish clergy, renaming it the Cordis Center. It also renovated the cathedral and added a new gathering space to the structure. On November 9, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI raised Sacred Heart to the dignity of a Minor Basilica.
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