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The Cathedral of St. Helena

In 1904, Bishop John P. Carroll set out to construct a Cathedral for the people of Helena, Montana. A symphony of color and light, majesty and holiness, Bishop Carroll hoped she would rival those of Europe. We welcome you to learn more about this magnificent house of God, your Cathedral of Saint Helena.

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The Early Days

Bishop John B. Brondel, the first Bishop of Helena, quickly recognized that the faithful of his Diocese were outgrowing the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He desired to construct a veritable magnificent church in the Capital City. He commented to a reporter:


 "It is the church of the living God, and should be more commodious, more imposing, Ah! I can almost see in imagination a great stone church with lofty spires and a bell tower."

Bishop Brondel would not live to see this dream arrive in reality. This was left to his successor,

Bishop John P. Carroll. 

"The Christian faith is a grand Cathedral, with divinely pictured windows. Standing without you see no glory nor can possibly imagine any. Standing within, every ray of light reveals a harmony or unspeakable splendor."

-Nathaniel Hawthorne


Constructing a Cathedral

Thomas Cruse
Bishop Carroll, founder of Carroll College in Helena Montana

After ascending Mount Helena to pray and ascertain a view of the city layout, Bishop Carroll firmly decided on the location of the new edifice. An entire city block, this space would allow for the proper symmetry required for a Cathedral of grand scale, rare in the United States.

Colonel Thomas Cruse and Mr. Peter Larson became influential charitable donors to the project. Both were among the burgeoning wealthy class that had seen success in Montana through mining, banking, and ranching. During this time, there were more millionaires per capita in Helena that any other city in the world.


"Wisely has your Bishop selected for it that form of architecture which, rising from the soul of the struggling, but vital Church, ever sought to lift its people up to God. Wisely did he, too, plant here amidst mountain, pine and peak, the architecture that reproduces the beauty of the one and the glory of the other" 

- Most Rev. John J. Glennon, D.D. Archbishop of St. Louis speaking of Gothic architecture during the consecration Mass



Would you like to learn more about the Cathedral of Saint Helena?

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, guided tours are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays from 1-3pm

Throughout the year, a guided tour may be scheduled for groups of 10 or more

Self-guided tours can be done during times when the Cathedral is open and Mass is not taking place. Please remember this is a place of prayer.

for further information, please call the Cathedral Office at (406) 442-5825. 

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