Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph (San Jose, California)

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph

Exterior view of Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph
37°20′03″N 121°53′27″W / 37.334036°N 121.890816°W / 37.334036; -121.890816Coordinates: 37°20′03″N 121°53′27″W / 37.334036°N 121.890816°W / 37.334036; -121.890816
Location 80 South Market Street
San Jose, California
Country  USA
Denomination Roman Catholic
Founded April 22, 1877 (1877-04-22)
Dedication Saint Joseph
Dedicated 1990
Consecrated 1803, 1877
Past bishop(s) The Most Rev. R. Pierre DuMaine
Status Minor Basilica, Cathedral
Functional status Active
Heritage designation California Historical Landmark #910
National Register of Historic Places #77000345
Groundbreaking 1876
Completed 1885
Capacity 950
Deanery Deanery 3
Episcopal area San José in California
Archdiocese Archidioecesis Sancti Francisci
Diocese Dioecesis Sancti Josephi in California
Province Ecclesiastical province of San Francisco
Bishop(s) The Most Rev. Patrick Joseph McGrath
  • Rev. Fr. Gerardo Menchaca
  • Rev. Fr. Tadeusz Terembula
Dean Rev. Fr. Ritche Bueza
(St. John the Baptist Parish)
Pastor(s) Rev. Fr. Joseph M. Benedict
Director of music Julie Wind
Organist(s) Aileen Chanco
Business manager Susan Olsen
Liturgy coordinator Melissa Broome Ursin
Religious education coordinator Susan Olsen
Parish administrator Tanis Zuccaro

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph is a large Roman Catholic church located in Downtown San Jose. The minor basilica is the cathedral for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose in California. The basilica is named for Saint Joseph, patron saint of the universal church.


Interior view of Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

The original St. Joseph's Church was called San Jose de Guadalupe[1] built on the site of the current basilica in 1803, and was the first non-mission parish built in California for the benefit of Spanish settlers instead of the Mission Indians (Ohlone). The Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe was connected with Mission Santa Clara by the The Alameda which was part of the historic El Camino Real.

The original adobe structure was damaged by earthquakes in 1818 and 1822, and a new adobe church was built from 1835 to 1846. The second church was severely damaged by the 1868 Hayward earthquake, and work on the third church began in 1869. The third church was destroyed by fire in 1875, and a temporary fourth church was built a few blocks away while the fifth and current church was being constructed. The fifth church was dedicated by Joseph Alemany, Archbishop of San Francisco, in 1877 while construction continued. The current portico was completed in 1884, and the large dome was finished in 1885.

In 1981, a major renovation project was begun at the church, which was to become the cathedral for the new Roman Catholic Bishop of San Jose. In 1985, the church was elevated to a cathedral, pending completion of the restoration in 1990. It replaced Saint Patrick Proto-Cathedral Parish, located a few blocks away, as the cathedral of the diocese. The cathedral was made a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1997.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph is listed as a California Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]


The Cathedral is open to visitors seven days a week from 7;30 am to 3 pm and 5pm on Staurday. Guided tours are available Tuesday through Friday between 1 pm and 3 pm.

Plaques at entrance

Just inside the entrance to the Cathedral are two plaques that read:

The Most Rev. Joseph S. Alemany, O.P.
First Archbishop of San Francisco
dedicated Saint Joseph Church,
fourth on this site, on land
donated by Antonio Sunol for the
first permanent Catholic Parish
in California, founded in 1803.

Rev. Nicholas Congiato, S.J., Pastor

22 April 1877

The Most Rev. R. Pierre DuMaine
First Bishop of San Jose
dedicated this Church
restored and renovated
as the new Cathedral
of the Diocese of San Jose.

Rev. P. Jeremiah Helfrich, S.J. Rector

4 November 1990

Joseph bible quotes

The top of the walls of the inside of the Cathedral include quotes from the Vulgate about Joseph:

Stained glass windows

The stained glass windows going counter clockwise from the East Transept dipect:

  1. Agony in the Garden
  2. Crucifixion
  3. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
  4. Saint Catherine of Alexandria
  5. Saint Patrick
  6. Saint John
  7. Saint Luke
  8. The Holy Family
  9. Saint Casimir
  10. Saint Edward the Confessor
  11. Saint John the Baptist
  12. Saint Mark
  13. Saint Matthew
  14. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque & The Sacred Heart of Jesus
  15. Saint Francis Xavier
  16. Saint Claude de la Colombière
  17. Resurrection
  18. Ascension

Odell pipe organ

The Odell pipe organ was built in 1886 by the J. H. and C. S. Odell Company in Yonkers, New York. It is the only such Odell instrument surviving in its original condition in the United States. It has 40,000 parts. It has 27 ranks of 60 pipes each. It was restored during 1987-1990.


  1. History of the Cathedral Basilica of St Joseph
  2. "Cathedral - About". Retrieved May 8, 2016.
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