At the turn of the 19th century, the famine Irish spent nine years constructing New England’s largest Catholic church. The cruciform neo-Gothic Cathedral of the Holy Cross (1400 Washington St., 617/542-5682, website ) rivals the largest in Europe.
The city’s Yankee forefathers, of course, promptly hid it behind the screaming tracks of an elevated railway, which drowned out homilies for almost 90 years. Now not only are the tracks gone, but also lights have been added to illuminate the facade.
The seat of the Archdiocese of Boston , the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Washington Street features rare Munich stained glass and a (supposed) relic of the true cross in the base of a crucifix. For years, eleven o’clock Sunday Mass was said by Bernard Cardinal Law, who stepped down in disgrace in 2003 after a prolonged scandal of molesting children that had been covered up for years.
Now mass is said by the new archbishop, Sean O’Malley, a former Capuchin friar who has rehabilitated the church in the eyes of many Bostonians. Occasional organ concerts featuring the reconstructed Hook & Hastings are the closest thing to divine transport in Boston .