December 8, 1854
THE STATUES OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION AT THE BASILICA
In the centre of the piazza (the square) of the Basilica Cathedral stands a marble statue of the Immaculate Conception, ten feet high, on a granite pedestal of about the same height. The statue was erected in 1858 by Bishop John Thomas Mullock. It is the work of the Irish sculptor, John Edward Carew.
The statue is reputed to be the first in the world to be commissioned to celebrate the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception that was proclaimed as infallible by Pope Pius IX in the bull (formal proclamation) Ineffabilis Deus in 1854, and thus is an important article of faith for Roman Catholics.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated by Catholics on December 8th each year.
NEWFOUNDLAND CONNECTION TO THE PROCLAMATION OF THE DOCTRINE
Before proclaiming the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception the Pope took steps to see whether the Church as a whole agreed by asking 603 bishops whether he should proclaim the doctrine of Immaculate Conception; 546 (90%) said that he should.
Bishop John Thomas Mullock of St. John’s was intending to be in Rome for the Proclamation but stayed in St. John’s to oversee the completion of the R.C. Cathedral (now Basilica) that was under construction.
The young priest John Thomas Power, the future bishop of Newfoundland was present at the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
There is in addition to the statue of the Immaculate Conception in the courtyard of the Basilica Cathedral also the life-size statue of the Immaculate Conception which stands to the left of the main altar in the Basilica Cathedral by Filippio Ghersi. It was installed on September 1, 1864.
Recommended Archives: For more information on this contact the Archives of the R.C. Archdiocese. www.stjohnsarchdiocese.nf.ca
On Line Article: Marian Devotion in Newfoundland: http://www.umanitoba.ca/colleges/st_pauls/ccha/Back%20Issues/CCHA1954/Kennedy.htm
Geology of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in St. John’s: http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/gc/article/view/2739/3186