The Cathedral of St John the Baptist, a Roman Catholic establishment, is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah. The colonial charter of the city originally prohibited Roman Catholics from settling here for fear they would be more loyal to the Spanish authorities, but after the American Revolution, the prohibition on Roman Catholics began to fade.
French Catholic immigrants escaping slave rebellions in Haiti established Savannah’s first parish just before the end of the 18th century. As the number of Catholics continued to increase in Savannah, a second church was dedicated in 1839 and construction on the new Cathedral of St John the Baptist began in 1873. It was completed in 1896 as the spires were added.
Although the cathedral was almost entirely destroyed by a fire in 1898, it was painstakingly rebuilt and rededicated in 1900, when it also received new murals and decorations. Restoration and renovations continued on throughout the reign of several bishops, and among the most significant elements that remain today are the stained glass windows.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is located at 222 East Harris Street. Mass is held at noon and 5:30pm on Saturday; at 8am, 10am and 11:30am on Sunday; and at 7:30am and noon Monday through Friday. Mass is available on holy days at 7:30am, noon and again at 6pm. Confessions can be scheduled or are available on Saturdays from 11 to 11:45am and from 4:15 to 5pm.