The people’s cathedral: Cathedral of St. Joseph hits 100 years


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Whether you’ve stepped through the doors of the Cathedral of St. Joseph many times or are just experiencing the views for the first time, the architecture and art of this building grabs your attention. 

“It’s just a really great space, a great place to worship,” Sharon Frisbie said. “It’s a great community. I’ve met lots of people over the years young and old, made some great friends here.”

Frisbie worships here and has done so for more than two decades. On Tuesday, the Cathedral of St. Joseph will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of its dedication. 

“A dedication means it becomes the official cathedral of the diocese, so this is the cathedral for the Catholic diocese of eastern South Dakota, we say the Diocese of Sioux Falls, but for the whole east river of South Dakota,” the Rev. James Morgan said.

Morgan is a priest here. Construction, he says, began in 1915 but eventually took a break.

“In 1917 they stop. Why? World War I,” Morgan said. “Men, resources are gone because they’re fighting a war overseas.”

Morgan says this building means so much to so many. 

“It’s a little bit of heaven here on earth, I think for people of all faiths,” Morgan said. “It doesn’t make any difference whether they’re Catholic or not Catholic, or if they’re even Christian or non-Christian, people see this building from far away, down on the bottom of Sioux Falls, whatever point you’re entering if they see it, they, and just by the look of it, you know it’s a house of prayer, it’s a house of God.”

Morgan says the towering cathedral not only spans beyond denominations, but also beyond city limits. 

“I think when we talk about this cathedral being a place where Catholics worship, people from Sioux Falls come up and they attempt to pray and feel God’s presence, we have to remember that this is something that stands for everyone I think in the whole state,” Morgan said.

Just look above at the spires.

 “The spires are very interesting,” Morgan said. “If you look at them, they were made in a way even though they kind of look like they’re tiled, they were made in a way to reflect the heads of grain.”

But it’s so much more than physically impressive. Just ask Frisbie.

“When my husband was deployed it was a good place to come and have quiet time and be deep in prayer,” Frisbie said.

“I think this is a place of refuge, for those people who are coming from places like Eritrea, and Sudan, and Burundi, and the Congo, and Cameroon,” Morgan said.

This refuge has now hit 100 years.

“I just think it’s a great milestone,” Frisbie said.

“I think for long-time north-enders, this is a walk down memory lane. it really is,” Morgan said. “I think for the people of Sioux Falls, and maybe even the people of South Dakota, this is a great achievement, an accomplishment, for even the city and the state, to have something like this, an edifice like this reach 100 years old.”

“I feel very at home here,” Frisbie said.

The cathedral has a way of pointing people in the right direction, too. Or letting them know where they should be.

“I think for anyone who comes in here, this is a place of hope,” Morgan said. “If that’s the one thing I think they leave with, even if they don’t believe in God, they know that this is a place of hope.”

“I know in my travels, and I’m sure a lot of people feel that way when you fly into Sioux Falls, you fly right by the cathedral, and it’s like, the minute you see the spires, you know you’re home,” Frisbie said.

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