How is a cathedral different from a parish church?

Our cathedral is a parish church, but it is much more. A church designated as the cathedral is the mother church of the whole diocese. It is called a cathedral because it houses the cathedra or bishop’s chair. This cathedra symbolizes the bishop’s authority to teach, sanctify and govern the church. From it he presides over his diocese. In addition, the Ceremonial for Bishops points out that the cathedral is to be the model for the entire diocese. In other words, it should be the ideal parish, one that the bishop would want every parish in his diocese to emulate. Even the building itself and the celebrations held within should be models for the rest of the diocese.

Fr. Tim McGuire

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