The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City is the third cathedral in western South Dakota. St. Patrick Cathedral, built in 1902, in Lead was the first one. The See was transferred to Rapid City in 1930 and St. Mary Church, a 1911 sandstone building, became the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. It was the only parish in Rapid City for decades. The building was used as a cathedral until 1962. Today the building is on the national historic registry and it used by St. Michael Community for Latin Masses.
Florence Skinner, a cathedral parishioner recalled the congregation quickly outgrew the little building. We had Mass in the Catholic school gymnasium. Someone brought in folding chairs with kneelers and the gym stage was the altar.”
Bishop William T. McCarty, was from the Redemptorist order, he asked then-Cathedral rector (the late) Msgr. Michael Roach, to oversee the building of a new cathedral. Land on the outskirts of Rapid City was donated for the church by Katherine Wapole in memory of her husband William.
Skinner recalled the architecture of the building was new to the area. “The roof wasn’t slanted like other churches, it was rounded.” She added that the late Father Richard Plante ordered the finest marble from Italy for the new cathedral. “He had an eye for the very best,” she said.
A Redemptorist icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is prominently displayed behind the altar. The groundbreaking for the third cathedral was held in 1960 and parishioners moved to the new location in the fall of 1962. The cathedral was dedicated on May 7, 1963, by Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi from Washington, D.C.