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Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

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Immigrants fleeing turmoil in Haiti and France established Savannah's first parish, the Congregation de Saint Jean-Baptiste, near the end of the 18th century.
To accommodate a growing Catholic population, half a trust lot on Liberty Square was reserved as a building site for the small frame church of Saint John the Baptist.
On August 2, 1811, the Mayor and Aldermen of Savannah granted a petition for a larger parcel of land at Montgomery and Hull Streets; but the congregation instead choose a site on Drayton and Perry Streets.

The first Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston (1820), which encompassed all of Georgia, was Bishop John England, and he placed the cornerstone of the new brick church. On April 1, 1839, Bishop England dedicated the Church of Saint John the Baptist, which seated 1,000 people.

Pope Pius IX erected the Diocese of Savannah on July 19, 1850, with the Right Reverend Francis X Gartland as the first bishop. Saint John the Baptist Church (the only Catholic church in Savannah) was repaired following hurricane damage, enlarged and named the Cathedral.

The Right Reverend Ignatius Persico, fourth bishop of Savannah, began planning the construction of a new Cathedral. He procured land on Abercorn Street from the Sisters of Mercy, but resigned the see in 1872 due to poor health.

The Right Reverend William H. Gross, C.Ss.R., laid the cornerstone of the new Cathedral on November 19, 1873. The new structure was dedicated to "Our Lady of Perpetual Help," a name the Cathedral retained for ten years.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation: Not Listed
Notes: None Listed
HOURS:Sun-Sat 9am-5pm


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