Beautifully-designed and constructed cathedrals have this way of exerting calm upon one’s soul, whether you are a believer or not. Perhaps it’s the peaceful quiet within the ornate stone walls or the shafts of light gently streaming in through the windows, but these places can certainly provide a temporary refuge to anyone in need of it.
The Cathedral of St. Stephen in Brisbane definitely merits a spot on your itinerary, if only for those times when you need a breather from all the sightseeing (though there are also quite a few sights to see within the said church).
Consecrated back in 1989, the cathedral is both a heritage-listed church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane and the official seat of the latter’s archbishop. It looks out over the city of Brisbane, Queensland from a plot bounded by streets called Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Edward, and looks very much like a typical Gothic revival-style structure with spires, German stained-glass windows, and a cruciform shape.
Having been recently refurbished and revived (the last stage of the restoration was completed back in 2000 when the Jubilee Pipe Organ was installed above the sanctuary), the cathedral is where Masses are held daily. If you’re lucky, you might even chance upon St. Stephen’s Chorale, a community choir of about 20 voices that sings the noon Mass once a month.
St. Stephen’s Chapel, which is the oldest Catholic church in Queensland, can be found south of the cathedral. Here is where you can gaze at a couple of breathtaking sculptures by John Elliott. One is of St. Mary McKillop, while the other is a magnificent wooden carving of the Blessed Mary in her pregnant form, said to be the only statue of its kind that depicts the Madonna with child.
Lastly, if the lunch hour finds you here, you can avail of a delicious and reasonably-priced meal at the basement cafe run by the Catholic Women’s League. The eatery is located in the building right next to the chapel.
The Cathedral of St. Stephen is located at 249 Elizabeth St., Brisbane, Queensland. Masses are held at 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 5:10 pm every Monday to Friday, while Saturday Masses can be heard at 11:30 am and 6:00 pm, with the latter being an anticipated Mass for the following day. Sunday Masses, on the other hand, are celebrated at 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 12 noon, and 7:30 pm.