St. James Cathedral Basilica is the second church building to serve this parish. The first church was constructed in 1822 and was the first Roman Catholic church on Long Island. In 1852, St. James became the cathedral parish for the newly-established Diocese of Brooklyn under Bishop Loughlin. While the Diocese long planned to construct a new cathedral in Fort Greene, that plan never came to fruition and St. James has continued to serve as the cathedral church for the Diocese, although many of the Diocese's larger ceremonies are held elsewhere.
Erected in 1831 as a spin-off of Sands Street M. E. Church, this congregation was established as its own station in 1835.