Archbishop Fiorenza Plaza dedication, Cathedrals’ anniversaries to be celebrated on April 13

April 4, 2024

Easter season is perfect timing to jointly celebrate the Feast of the Cathedrals in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on April 13 and dedicate the newly constructed Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Plaza.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo will celebrate Mass beginning at 10 a.m. that Saturday at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston, 1111 St. Joseph Parkway. Immediately afterward at 11:15 a.m. across the street, Cardinal DiNardo and Father Jeff Bame, rector and pastor of the Co-Cathedral, will lead the plaza dedication.

In each diocese, the day its Cathedral was dedicated is considered a Feast. When the new Co-Cathedral was consecrated in April of 2008, Cardinal DiNardo had both Feasts consolidated into one day – April 13.

The Mass on that day will first give thanks for both Cathedrals of Galveston-Houston. St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica, the Mother Church of Texas was first dedicated in 1848, survived the horrific 1900 storm that ravaged Galveston, and is celebrating 176 years. The new Co-Cathedral was first dedicated on April 2, 2008, more than doubling the capacity to more than 1,800.

The Fiorenza Plaza is on the site of the old Co-Cathedral on Pierce, the former Sacred Heart Church that was elevated to a Co-Cathedral in 1959 when then-Pope John XXIII changed the Diocese of Galveston to the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. The old Co-Cathedral served the diocese for almost a century after being built in 1911 and closing in 2009. It was demolished last year when construction began on the plaza.

The landscaped plaza and parking lot is named after Archbishop Fiorenza, the seventh bishop and inaugural archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas, who died in 2022, leaving an indelible mark on the city’s history. This Plaza was part of Archbishop Fiorenza’s original plan for the site of the old Co-Cathedral, and it is fitting that he be recognized on the site.

Archbishop Fiorenza, one of the esteemed “three amigos” alongside Rev. William Lawson and Rabbi Samuel Karff, played a pivotal role in advocating for the underprivileged in Houston. The trio worked tirelessly to foster unity among Houstonians of diverse faiths for social justice.

The memorial plaza and parking lot, spanning 60,000 square feet, is located at the intersection of San Jacinto Street and St. Joseph Parkway, opposite the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

A centerpiece of the plaza will be the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, formerly positioned at the entrance of the old Co-Cathedral. Additionally, the memorial will feature 6,000 square feet of public gathering and tribute space, a pavilion, and 144 parking spaces, as outlined by Sacred Heart officials.

Cardinal DiNardo, who succeeded Archbishop Fiorenza as the archbishop of the diocese, shared thoughts during the groundbreaking ceremony last December, emphasizing Archbishop Fiorenza’s vision for both the new Co-Cathedral and the plaza.

“It was meant to be a place that beautified our downtown community, that welcomed our archdiocese family and provided a gathering space for prayer, events, and service,” DiNardo stated. “It is therefore only fitting that this plaza be established in his honor and in his memory.”

Then-Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner underscored the enduring impact of Archbishop Fiorenza’s legacy on the city, describing the late archbishop as “a consummate Houstonian, deeply devoted to this city and its people.” Turner acknowledged Archbishop Fiorenza’s contributions in areas such as policing reform, addressing housing issues, advocating for immigrants and the homeless, desegregating schools and businesses, and championing resources for the underserved.

The construction of the memorial plaza is being financed through an ongoing capital campaign, which also aims to fund improvements to the Co-Cathedral and Cathedral Centre. For more information, visit