The word “cathedral” derives from the Greek word “kathedra,” meaning “chair.” The chair of the diocesan bishop is the seat from which he guides the life of the Church in a particular geographical region known as a diocese. This chair is a symbol of his authority to teach, sanctify and govern the people of Christ. The church in which this chair is housed is consequently known as a cathedral church — the bishop’s own parish church.
Established as a parish May 15, 1953 by then Bishop Daniel J. Gercke of Tucson, construction on the current church of Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral began in 1965. Then Bishop Francis Green of Tucson dedicated the 1200-seat church Dec. 11, 1966, and it was elevated to the status of cathedral when the Diocese of Phoenix was established Dec. 2, 1969.
The anniversary of the dedication of a cathedral church is to be observed on the date of the church’s consecration, with the rank of a solemnity in the cathedral itself and of a feast in the other churches of the diocese, according to the “General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar.” The cathedral church is a symbol of the unity of the local Church, and its dedication ought to be celebrated throughout the diocese.
The annual observance of the dedication of a church celebrates the mystery of the living Church, that is, the people of God in pilgrimage to the new Jerusalem. It is desirable that the faithful of the entire diocese come together to celebrate the Eucharist with the bishop.