Cathedral of St. Mary – Fargo, ND

Date of Review: I attended the Feast of the Holy Family Mass, at noon on December 27th, 2020. Fr. Fischer presided.

Architecture: A change of pace from Crookston, this Cathedral was completed over 90 years earlier in 1899. The Romanesque Revival style Cathedral was designed by an architect from St. Paul, MN, Edward Bassford. Bassford designed a number of other notable buildings in St. Paul and St. Peter, MN. For a 121 year old building, it has been well maintained. The grounds also feature the Bishop’s Residence, a Parish Center, and an Adoration Chapel (pictured below).

Celebrant(s): Fr. Fischer presided, and had a very deliberate style of speech which helped him come through clear in proclaiming the Gospel and in his Homily, which focused on the importance of a two parent family, and on fathers being present for both their wife and their children. The deliberate style meant I, and several other congregants, frequently got ahead of Fr. Fischer during the Creed and Our Father.

Congregation: Mass was very well attended, since I sat towards the middle of the transept (if you can call it that), I didn’t realize how well attended until the communion procession.

Decor: The decor is great for a Cathedral in a smaller diocese. A friend of mine from the Boston area commented on my Instagram post that the church was beautiful, and given the architecture in Boston, that is high praise. Large stained glass windows on either side of the transept, a nice organ and choir loft, and enough art on the walls to break up the otherwise white color, makes this a must see.

Location: Near the central business district of Fargo, this was perfectly positioned in the middle of everything, but a few blocks outside downtown so that the hustle and bustle didn’t ruin the prayerful environment.

Musicians: An organist and a male lead soloist (who sung from the loft). The organist was excellent, however the male soloist didn’t have quite the vocal ability I would have expected for the singer at a Cathedral. After mass, I heard the choir warming up for the 2pm Tridentine service, and they sounded fantastic.

Volunteers: A full slate of ushers, but no greeters either on the way in or the way out. Given this Cathedral has a full slate of five masses between the Vigil and Sunday, perhaps that is understandable.

Overall: The architecture and decor make this a must see. If I’m ever back, I may attempt to attend the Tridentine Mass at 2pm to see if the volunteers and musicians add to the ambiance. Special kudos to Father Fischer for appropriately dealing with a hostile individual who didn’t follow protocol for the reception of Holy Communion.


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