Before he abdicated the Papacy, Benedict XVI elevated a church in Prospect Heights to cathedral status. Last month, just three days after Benedict’s historic announcement that he was abdicating the Papacy, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was informed of the , pope’s decision of February 11th to designate the Church of St. Joseph, 856 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, a co-cathedral of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The decree was pre-dated March19th and it was announced to the parishioners on March 3rd, 2013.
Last year, Bishop DiMarzio had submitted a petition to the Congregation for Bishops, that the Church of St. Joseph be elevated to a cathedral. Bishop DiMarzio said, “Since my arrival here as Bishop of Brooklyn almost 10 years ago, it was evident that St. Joseph’s, located in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn, is at the heart of a new Brooklyn. The Church has a large seating capacity fitting our many Diocesan celebrations. In addition, St. Joseph’s is in a location anticipated to be the most densely populated area in New York City, and it should be a prominent fixture in the re-development at this exciting time in our borough. St. Joseph’s Church should have the designation as a co-cathedral of the Diocese of Brooklyn.”
“This is the Holy Father’s Valentine’s Day gift to the Diocese of Brooklyn,” said Monsignor Kieran Harrington, administrator of St. Joseph’s. “We received the decree a few days ago. But that is understandable, the Holy Father had a lot of other more pressing tasks to consider these last few days.”
St. Joseph’s is now the co-cathedral of the Diocese of Brooklyn, which also includes Queens. The longstanding St. James Cathedral Basilica, on Jay St. in Downtown Brooklyn, will also remain a Cathedral.
St. James Cathedral Basilica, was the only cathedral in the 160-year history of the Diocese, which was founded in 1853. St. James Cathedral was previously a pro-cathedral from the moment the Diocese was founded; it was conceived that a new cathedral would be built. St. Joseph’s, which can accommodate 1,500 people, is one of the largest churches in the Diocese. It is for this reason the Bishop sought permissions for it to be named a co-cathedral. Certain liturgies, such as ordinations and the Chrism Mass, held on Holy Thursday, are normally required to be held at a cathedral.