|Sacred Heart Cathedral|
Sacred Heart Cathedral, or the Roman Catholic Cathedral, is located on the upper mall road and is accessed from Hall Road, a street that branches out to the south from Regal Chowk. Situated in sprawling grounds, landscaped with large trees, plantation and shrubbery, the cathedral is an interesting combination of spires, towers, and a large cupola juxtaposed against each other.
This magnificent edifice was constructed by the Belgian Capuchins in a prominent place in the heart of the city and consecrated on 19th November 1907 as the mother Church of the diocese of Lahore. It replaced the historic old Pro-Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception built in 1861 near the famous Anarkali bazaar, outside the Old City.
The cathedral was founded by Bishop Godfrey Pelkmans. In 1893 he took charge as the third Bishop of Lahore at the young age of 39. He felt that in this city of grand mosques and temples, there should a fitting and worthy place for the celebration of the Christian liturgy. He commissioned a Belgian designer, Mr. Dubbeleere of Antwerp to draw up the plans. For his splendid Roman Byzantine design, Mr. Dubbeleere was later awarded the Prize of Rome.
Bishop Pelckmans gathered money from benefactors in Belgium and bought the land in a prominent place in the heart of the city. The building was started in 1902 and he had the joy of blessing the foundation stone on 4th October 1903. But he was not destined to see his dream become a reality. He passed away on 3rd August 1904. He lies buried in the crypt of his beloved Cathedral, which stands as a visible monument to his vision and genius.
Bishop Fabian Eestermans consecrated the Church on 19th November 1907 in an impressive ceremony. The total length of the building is about 200 feet. The belfry steeple stands 165 feet high, while the magnificent dome, 120 feet high, is flanked by four elegant turrets.