St. Patrick's parish included only 19 families when the Rev. Bernard O'Reilly (1821-75) became first resident pastor in 1853. He supervised construction of Corpus Christi's first Catholic Church. The adobe building stood on Tancahua Street property donated by Henry L. Kinney.
In 1880 construction was begun on a larger building, located at the same site but facing Karankawa Street. Designed by architect Charles Carroll, a parish member who donated his services, the second St Patrick's was a frame structure with two towers. Bells for the church were given by Mifflin Kenedy, whose wife was a parishioner. Dedicated in November 1882, the church soon became a Corpus Christi landmark. For many years, services were held in both English and Spanish. St Patrick's was designated a cathedral March 23, 1912, during the pastorate of the Rev. Claude Jaillet (1843-1929), who served there for 30 years.
Growth of the congregation and fire damage to the frame church in 1938 prompted construction of the present Corpus Christi Cathedral. Erected on property donated by the John Kenedy family, the Spanish Colonial style edifice was dedicated July 17, 1940. The old frame structure was dismantled in 1951 and used in building Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on East Causeway Blvd.