Our Parish History

In 1598, Franciscan Friars entered what is now New Mexico. These priests accompanied the Spanish colonists, who had migrated north from Mexico City.

The City of Santa Fe was founded in 1610. That same year the first church was built on this site. The original adobe church was replaced in 1630 by a larger one, which was destroyed by the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680.

The expelled Spaniards returned in 1693, but were not able to rebuild the church until 1714. This new church was named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Santa Fe.

The only part of this church still existing is the small adobe chapel dedicated to Our Lady La Conquistadora. Brought from Spain in 1625, the statue is the oldest representation of the Virgin Mary in the United States.

In 1850, Santa Fe received its first Bishop, Father John Baptiste Lamy of France. Judging the 1714 old adobe church as inadequate for the seat of the Archdiocese, Bishop Lamy ordered a new Romanesque church built, and brought French architects and Italian stonemasons to build his Cathedral.

Construction of the Cathedral began in 1869 and continued until 1887. The new Cathedral was built around the former adobe church and, when the new walls were complete, the old church was torn down and removed through the front door.

The stained glass windows in the lower bay are from France and depict the twelve apostles. Seven archbishops, including Lamy, are buried in the sanctuary.

Dedicated in 1887, the Cathedral’s spires were never completed due to lack of funds. During the most recent structural renewal in 1967, the Cathedral was strengthened, new sacristies were added, and a Blessed Sacrament Chapel was built. In 1987, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the stone church, a monumental altar screen depicting famous saints of North and South America was installed.

The Cathedral was elevated to a Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Basilica means a church of particular importance in Rome and abroad. Churches are honored by the Holy Father because of their importance in the history of spreading Catholicism.

Archbishops of Santa Fe

  1. Most Rev. John B. Lamy, D.D. - born October 11, 1814 in Lemps, France; ordained December 1838; consecrated First Vicar Apostolic of New Mexico and Titular Bishop of Agathonica November 24, 1850; appointed First Bishop of Santa Fe July 29, 1853; created First Archbishop February 12, 1875; pallium conferred June 16, 1875; resigned July 18, 1885; appointed Titular Archbishop of Cizicus August 18, 1885; died February 13, 1888 in Santa Fe, NM.
  2. Most Rev. John B. Salpointe, D.D. - born February 21, 1825 in St. Maurice-de-Poinsat, France; ordained December 20, 1851; consecrated Titular Bishop of Dorylaeum and First Vicar Apostolic of Arizona June 20, 1869; appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe cum jure succesionis April 22, 1884; promoted Titular Archbishop of Anazarba October 11, 1884; succeeded to the See of Santa Fe July 18, 1885; pallium conferred November 21, 1885; resigned January 7, 1894; Titular Archbishop of Tomi 1894-1898; died July 15, 1898 in Tucson, Arizona.
  3. Most Rev. Placid L. Chapelle, D.D. - born August 28, 1842 in Runes, France; ordained June 28, 1865; appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe August 21, 1891; consecrated Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe cum jure succesionis November 1, 1891; succeeded to See of Santa Fe January 7, 1894; pallium conferred October 17, 1895; transferred to be Archbishop of New Orleans December 1, 1897; Apostolic Delegate for Puerto Rico & Cuba 1898; Apostolic Delegate for the Phillipines 1899; died August 9, 1905 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  4. Most Rev. Peter Bourgade, D.D. - born October 17, 1845 in Vollore-Ville, France, ordained November 30, 1869; appointed Vicar Apostolic of Arizona February 7, 1885; consecrated May 1, 1885; became First Bishop of Tucson and Titular Bishop of Thaumacum May 8, 1897; promoted Archbishop of Santa Fe January 7, 1899; died May 17, 1908 in Chicago, Illinois.
  5. Most Rev. John B. Pitaval D.D. - born February 10, 1858 in St. Genis-Terrenoire, France; ordained December 24, 1881; appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Fe May 15, 1902; consecrated Titular Bishop of Sora and Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Fe July 25, 1902; promoted Archbishop of Santa Fe January 3, 1909; resigned February 1918; appointed Titular Archbishop of Amida July 29, 1918; died May 23, 1928 in Denver, Colorado.
  6. Most Rev. Albert T. Daeger, O.F.M; D.D. - born March 5, 1872 in St. Ann, Indiana; joined Franciscan order August 15, 1889; ordained July 25, 1896; consecrated Archbishop of Santa Fe May 7, 1919; died December 2, 1932 in Santa Fe, NM.
  7. Most Rev. Rudolph A. Gerken, D.D. - born March 7, 1884 in Dyersville, Iowa; ordained June 10, 1917; consecrated & appointed First Bishop of Amarillo April 26, 1927; appointed Archbishop of Santa Fe June 2, 1933; installed August 23, 1933; died March 2, 1943 in Santa Fe, NM.
  8. Most Rev. Edwin V. Byrne, D.D. - born August 9, 1891 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; ordained May 22, 1915; consecrated & appointed First Bishop of Ponce, Puerto Rico June 23, 1925; appointed Bishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico 1929; promoted Archbishop of Santa Fe June 15, 1943; died July 25, 1963 in Santa Fe, NM.
  9. Most Rev. James P. Davis, D.D. - born June 9, 1904 in Houghton, Michigan; ordained May 19, 1929; appointed Bishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico July 7, 1943, consecrated October 6, 1943 in Tucson, Arizona; installed November 25, 1943; promoted First Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico April 30, 1960; transferred to be Archbishop of Santa Fe January 3, 1964; installed February 25, 1964; resigned October 1974; died March 4, 1988 in Phoenix, Arizona.
  10. Most Rev. Robert F. Sanchez, D.D. - born March 20, 1934 in Socorro, NM; ordained December 20, 1959; appointed Archbishop of Santa Fe June 1, 1974; consecrated & installed July 25, 1974; resigned April 6, 1993.
  11. Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan, S.T.L.; J.C.D. - born July 9, 1939 in Wichita, Kansas, ordained July 12, 1964; consecrated & installed First Bishop of Lubbock June 17, 1983; appointed Apostolic Administrator of Santa Fe April 6, 1993; appointed Archbishop of Santa Fe August 17, 1993; installed September 21, 1993, pallium conferred June 28, 1994 in Rome, Italy; retired April 27, 2015.
  12. Most Rev. John C. Wester - born November 5 in San Francisco, California; ordained May 15, 1976;

    consecrated and installed as auxiliary bishop of San Francisco and appointed vicar general on September 18, 1998; appointed Bishop of Salt Lake City on January 8, 2007; installed as the twelfth Archbishop of Santa Fe on June 4, 2015 pallium conferred October 5, 2015 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.





Parish Founded 1610


Established as a Cathedral 1853


Elevated to Basilica 2005


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