One of Montreal’s famed skyline silhouettes; St. Joseph’s Oratory is a sacred destination for many.
It attracts 2 million visitors annually. Some climb the 100 steps on their knees as pilgrims. Others come simply to admire this Italian Renaissance-style basilica reminiscent of the Duomo in Florence.
I love the grandeur of the beautiful building, set back on its large property. It is the largest church in Canada. Its dome is second in size only to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The first small chapel was erected in 1904, and was extended often. By 1917 a new Crypt-Church was built, large enough for about 1,000 people. Montreal’s Brother André, who was canonized last week-end in Rome, had a dream to build a sanctuary dedicated to Saint Joseph. His dream came true in 1967, when the Oratory was completed.
The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the church and were allegedly healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and in 1982 beatified Brother André, who was canonized in Rome in October 2010. Liturgical music and concerts are provided by a great organ (with 5,811 pipes), a Carillion of 56 bells in their own building, and a choir school. Check the website for special masses celebrating Saint André, and other events, including Christmas celebrations.
St. Joseph’s Oratory, 3800 Queen Mary Road / Côte-des-Neiges
Guided tours (in different languages), cafeteria, snack bar
Masses in English daily.
Open daily 6: 00 am – 9:30 p.m.