New Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston

Photo of New Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of New Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of New Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of New Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

View at I45 and Midtown

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New Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral

1111 Saint Joseph Parkway, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
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In a region dominated my mega-churches built into malls, warehouses, and sports arenas the new Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral goes a more modern yet still traditional route. The long-anticipated building phase got underway in early 2005 several years after plans were announced, and a lot cleared next door to the existing Sacred Heart for the new church. For years people drove by the brown patch surrounded by chain-link fence and wondered if the project would ever get off the ground.

Because of its location and its stature, the new Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral is a downtown landmark. It faces the Pierce Elevated freeway with a green dome 117-feet above the surface street, and is punctuated by a 140-foot-tall belltower.

The new building features a classic design with a free-standing bell tower reminiscent of cathedrals of Italy. It can hold over 18-hundred parishioners underneath its vaulted ceiling and metal dome. The cathedral is something of an anomaly among Catholic construction. Places like Houston and Los Angeles are able to build more and larger churches to help accommodate an influx of the faithful from Mexico. At the same time, churches in other parts of the country are being consolidated or abandoned as people seek a more secular life.

But like so many secular buildings in Houston, the old must make way for the new. The current Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral is slated for demolition once the new one opens. That has brought mixed feelings to those who frequent it. They know it is run down and not adequate for the parish's needs, but it is their spiritual home, and any time you lose a piece of your history you lose a piece of yourself.

Quick Facts
Timeline
  • January 31, 2005 - Groundbreaking.
  • January, 2008: Dedication.
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There are 20 comments.

  very nice an it big and bright stand of power and has a strong foundation.

stephen boyce - Friday, October 18th, 2013 @ 2:32pm  

  Its no St. Patrick's in New York! It looks like ordinary commercial, totally lacking in any originality. Its too bright inside. I was hoping they would create something awesome - like you would see in Barcelona, Spain. This thing looks like some tired, corporate church.

Bob - Thursday, October 18th, 2012 @ 10:48am  

  The argument of spending money and how horrible it was for the Catholic Church to build this is an ignorant one, and one wrought with anti-Catholic misunderstanding.The point of building a grand and glorious structure, as seen by the philosophy that guides the Catholic Church, is to build one whose glory signifies that we, as humans, can never truly understand the greatness of our creator, nor should we be able to comprehend the beauty of heaven as mere mortals. In this, the structure is designed as a tribute, a concept to this greatness, a physical reverence to the majesty and beauty of the heavenly realm which is the house of Trinitarian belief. And while we may not be able, as humans, to build anything heavenly beautiful, this is our way to try. This building does this.It is not a "ostentatious display" or some such - it is a reverent attempt to be as beautiful as possible as a tribute to God. Further, as a mother church of the Archdiocese, it is meant to be a beautiful point of respect. This is why all bascillicas, cathedrals, and Catholic churches are built in sizes and scales of grand beauty - a reverent nod to the greatness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Gil Velasquez - Sunday, February 14th, 2010 @ 3:10pm  

  I couldn't agree more with Mr. Dominguez. $32,000,000 could be used for much better and more important projects. Are we any closer to heaven by praying in such an extravagant building? I think not. The church and all its bishops, cardinals, priests,etc should rectify their way of thinking and go back to the drawing board.

frank morales - Saturday, January 16th, 2010 @ 11:11am  

  I think the new co-cathedral it's beautiful as well as the old one, we should always keep growing and updating inside and out, so to me the new co-cathedral it's a positive and new way of growing as human beings with God and to keep the old co-cathedral will be good if it's use for something positive for example learning center for catholics, museum etc... but not for church services that will be a waste of space, we already have plenty for church services at the new co-cathedral.

Maria del Rosario Moncada Jr. - Sunday, May 24th, 2009 @ 12:28pm  

  I like the modern lines of the building overall; but the western and northern sides just turn a blank face to the street. And what is up with the "uber-buff Jesus" portrait in the stained glass?!?

Jen Mathis - Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 @ 8:45pm  

  Obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if you know anything about the goals of the Archdiocese and the vision of the architect, (to build a Cathedral for the ages of profound spiritual expression and enduring artistic quality) the final Co-Cathedral is exactly that. The architecture is inspired by the Italian Romanesque style, showing simplicity of line without being pretentious of overly ornamented. Its a beautiful sacred place that has brought many visitors to tears.

S. De Ita - Monday, July 21st, 2008 @ 11:03am  

  The new church is very plain inside and outside. And like 90% of the people here I believe that the old cathedral should be saved. May God help us in this fight to save the old Sacred Heart.

Derek - Thursday, June 26th, 2008 @ 11:36pm  

  I am a big advocate for old world architecture and I think the old building should be saved, restored and used as a chapel or welcome or parish center. The Catholic Church's history of abandoning old world architectural buildings is documented in Transfiguration Church in Buffalo,NY, St. Boniface Church in Chicago,IL and many other's in cities like Philadelphia,PA Boston,MA Buffalo,NY other's in Chicago,IL is just a shame. The deceased immigrant families who built these beautiful old churches deserve better than a Cardinal of an Archdiocese saying it will cost too much money to restore the building and abandoning or demolishing them. The church has so much money to restore these architectural masterpieces.

Kyle Karlin - Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 @ 1:49pm  

  My Mother's father was the architect for Sacred Heart, which later became the co-cathedral. Olle J. Lorehn migrated from Sweden, and while still a Lutheran, married my Irish grandmother and was chosen to design Sacred Heart. The Church is very sturdy and also very beautiful. If there is any way it could be preserved as a landmark of early Houston, I think it should be. My grandfather became Catholic and was buried from his church in June, 1939

John F. Deeves, S.J. - Saturday, June 7th, 2008 @ 4:35pm  

  This will be a great house of God. It is more pleasing to the eye than most recent places of worship which can usually be confused with a warehouse. Having chosen to bulid it in the shape of our Lords Cross, as most traditional Cathedrals, are was perfect. The money was well spent.

bob - Monday, December 17th, 2007 @ 12:35pm  

  Oh Please, as If a 100 years is too Old to Preserve. In with New and Out with the Old is absurd. I viewed an ariel view on Mapquest and I was amazed that such a major structure for the Catholics of Houston,Texas was build on such a Small piece of land with streets on all 4 sides. I am very Underwhelmed by this Poor addition to a Rich in History but Architecurally Poor Houston.

Robert Farmer - Sunday, April 1st, 2007 @ 1:14pm  

  I think this new building is great; it combines a sense of the past, yet it is a clean, modern design. The old catherdral is cramped and uninspired to me, unlike the other Catholic churches in or near downtown.

Robert Sharp - Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 @ 12:14pm  

  As a relatively new catholic, I really appreciate the history of the current co-cathedral, and at the same time can look forward to the newness of the new church. I understand the meaning behind the new church and what it means to Archbishop Fiorenza.

Doyle Drury - Friday, March 23rd, 2007 @ 2:50pm  

  Although the new structure is modern and will reflect the modern city that is Houston, the old Cathedral should be saved, at all cost, to preserve this city's Catholic heritage. This is coming from someone who is Methodist.

Anthony Morrison - Friday, February 9th, 2007 @ 2:12pm  

  This new cathedral is a waste of money. First the old Sacred Heart is very sound; the arch-diocese is giving us BS. The current cathedral must be saved; it is also 100 years old. The new cathedral is so plain and kind of ugly. The windows are square and only four are going to be stained-glass. The remaining windows are going to be left open, not what a cathedral is supposed to be. The old Sacred Heart is very beautiful and has a great history and meaning for the people of Houston. Yes it will be a sin to destroy this church, and yes it is the House of God. We can not just stand by and let this happen; we must fight to save our home. If you would like to help please get in contract with Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and Preservation Texas.

Jonh - Wednesday, December 13th, 2006 @ 1:37pm  

  What a visually uninspiring waste of money. While other catholic churches and schools in the Houston area struggle with finances and dwindling congregations, how did it seem appropriate to waste $32,000,000 for the construction of a new church? I find it hard to believe that the original structure is beyond repair and cannot be brought back to it's former splendor. If that is the case, then why do they continue to hold daily mass in the very structure that is not structurally sound? Perhaps this is just another vulgar display of arrogance by a church/arch dioscese that has lost sight of helping the poor, the sick, and the less fortunate. Not only that, but $32,000,000 could do wonders for the catholic schools in the Houston area!

D. Dominguez - Friday, November 17th, 2006 @ 1:00pm  

  I could not disagree more. This building walke a line between homage to the past and looking toward the future. It is traditional, but modern. It feels clean and simply conceived, but not shallow. The other building to me seems cramped and uninspired.

Robert Sharp - Tuesday, September 26th, 2006 @ 6:32pm  

  I was dis-appointed to see such un-imaginative the exterior for the new cathedral. It will hardly be a land mark of interest such as the new one on Los Angeles. Its just going to look like a big ugly church from the 50's. It's so unfortunate to see how the archdiocese lost a great opportunity to build an architectual landmark.What a real shame.

Rev. Hector Trevino - Monday, July 10th, 2006 @ 4:10pm  

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