Gothic Pride: The Story of Building a Great Cathedral in Newark
Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is one of the United States’ greatest cathedrals and most exceptional Gothic Revival buildings. Rising from Newark’s highest ground and visible for miles, it spectacularly evokes its historic models. Gothic Pride sets Sacred Heart in the context of American cathedral building and, blending diverse fields, accounts for the complex circumstances that produced it.
Calling upon a wealth of primary sources, Brian Regan describes in a compelling narrative the cathedral’s almost century-long history. He traces the project to its origins in the late 1850s and the great expectations held by the project’s prime movers—all passionate about Gothic architecture and immensely proud of Newark—that never wavered despite numerous setbacks and challenges. Construction did not begin until 1898 and, when completed in 1954, the cathedral became New Jersey’s largest church—and the most expensive Catholic church ever built in America. During Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United States in 1995, he celebrated evening prayer at the Cathedral. On that occasion, the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was elevated to a basilica to become the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Meticulously researched, Gothic Pride brings to life the people who built, contributed to, and worshipped in Sacred Heart, recalling such remarkable personalities as George Hobart Doane, Jeremiah O’Rourke, Gonippo Raggi, and Archbishop Thomas Walsh. In many ways, the cathedral’s story is a lens that lets us look at the history of Newark itself—its rise as an industrial city and its urban culture in the nineteenth century; its transformation in the twentieth century; its immigrants and the profound effects of their cultures, especially their religion, on American life; and the power of architecture to serve as a symbol of community values and pride..
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