St. Augustine Cathedral / Cathedral of St. Augustine
The Cathedral of Saint Augustine is a Mexican Baroque style church located in Tucson. The congregation formed in the mid-1800s. St. Augustine Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.
Backstory and Context
In 1858, the Bishop of the Diocese of Santa Fe at the time sent Reverend Joseph Machebeuf, a priest within his jurisdiction, to scout out the status of Christianity in Arizona. After examining the then small town of Tucson, Machebeuf suggested that a pastor of the diocese should be administered to the area. Work was done in order to select an appropriate pastor, and in 1866, Reverend Jean B. Salpointe was chosen as the pastor for the town of Tucson, and work began on a church building. Construction was done by 1868, and by then, the church’s congregation had expanded exponentially. The Father Jean Salpointe was then raised in status to the Most Reverend Jean B. Salpointe, Vicar Apostolic of the Tucson area, meaning that Tucson had then received both a bishop and a Cathedral.
As years passed, the Cathedral of St. Augustine continued to serve its congregation in many ways, and in 1897, the Bishop Peter Bourgade insisted that the Cathedral be rebuilt. Substantial work was done, but it never reached the status that Bourgade had intended. In the following decades, the efforts of the Cathedral were focused on church planting and giving aid to smaller parishes in the Arizona area, resulting in the neglect of the Cathedral itself. This was recognized, and in 1966, a restoration project was began to restore the fading Cathedral. The restoration was completed in 1968, just in time to coincide with the Cathedral’s 100th anniversary of being the Cathedral of Tucson.
In 2011 the cathedral was rededicated after another restoration project.