April 8, 1999 Next.
The Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle plays a major role in the Catholic life of the nations capital. Established in 1840, St. Mathews originally was located 4 blocks away from this site. Construction on the present church started in 1893. The first Mass was celebrated on June 2, 1895. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Washington. Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass here on October 6, 1979. President John F. Kennedys funeral Mass was said on November 25, 1963. There is an inscription on the floor in front of the altar showing where the casket was placed during Mass.
Supreme Court justices and members of Congress, the cabinet, diplomatic corps, and other government departments attend this church.
"The Cathedral has been cited as having one of the most beautiful church interiors of modern times. Its walls are laden with shimmering mosaics suggestive of those found in the renowned churches of Ravenna, Italy."