CENTER CITY (WTXF) - Pope Francis celebrated mass for 1,600 local parishioners and clergy this morning at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City.
The Cathedral is the principal church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Pope Francis is the second pontiff to speak at the cathedral, following Pope John Paul II’s 1979 visit to the city.
The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul opened in 1864 and is the largest Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. It is modeled after the Lombard church of Saint Charles (San Carlo al Corso) in Rome. Napolen LeBrun, a Philadelphia architect, designed the 150-year-old Cathedral, and is the only one in the United States built in the Roman-Corinthian architectural style.
From top to bottom the Cathedral stands 314 feet from the pavement, with an 11-foot gold cross atop the dome. The Cathedral seats approximately 1,240 people, with an additional 260 temporary seats added for the Pontiff’s mass.