Saturday, August 05, 2023

Cathedral of the Madeleine

Historic Buildings of Utah 

The Cathedral of the Madeleine is situated at 331 East South Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was constructed over a nine-year period, starting with the acquisition of the land in 1900, under the guidance of The Right Reverend Lawrence Scanlan, the city's inaugural bishop. Architects Carl Neuhausen and Bernard Mecklenburg blended Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, resulting in an impressive exterior and interior. The entire construction project cost $344,000. In 1991, a significant renovation commenced, amounting to $9.7 million, which greatly improved and reinforced the structure. The renewed cathedral was rededicated on February 21, 1993, and it holds a place on both the Utah and national registers of historic places.

One of many works of stained glass offset by pipe organ

Noteworthy features of the cathedral include:

  1. Baptismal Font: Fashioned from Carrara onyx and glass mosaic, the font incorporates a conventional upper font and a lower immersion area, which was used for adult baptisms through water pouring. The symbolism of the font includes the cross and its eight sides, representing the concept of eternity's 'eighth day.' This design harks back to ancient baptismal practices involving immersion.
  2. Confessionals: The two confessionals at the rear were enlarged in 1993, providing spaces for private confession and repentance.
  3. Shrines of Charity: Dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua (carved in 1918) and St. Vincent de Paul (carved in 1993), these shrines exemplify the church's dedication to serving the less fortunate.
  4. The Organ: Installed in 1992, the English-style organ features 4,066 pipes and stands within a Gothic case. It serves both liturgical services and concerts.
  5. Stained Glass Windows: Adorning the interior, these exquisite windows depict various classic Catholic themes, including the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Resurrection, Ascension, and Descent of the Holy Spirit.
  6. Stations of the Cross: Painted by Utah artist Roger Wilson in 1992 and 1993, these 14 stations adhere to a revised version directed by the Vatican in 1975. They blend traditional iconography with colors inspired by the American Southwest.
  7. The Altar: The centerpiece of the cathedral, the altar is constructed from Carrara onyx adorned with glass mosaic. It occupies a prominent position at the intersection of the cathedral's main seating areas. Notably, the altar holds relics of St. Gratus, Bishop of Aosta in Piedmont, Italy, who passed away in 457, symbolizing the call to sainthood.
  8. Blessed Sacrament Chapel: Located at the rear of the main chancel, this chapel is reserved for the sick or for private devotion. Adjacent to it is the Ambry, which holds holy oils. The chapel was added in 1993.
  9. Shrine of St. Mary Magdalen: As the patroness of the cathedral, this shrine and the large painting above it are captivating focal points. The painting depicts Mary looking up to Christ, who is positioned above her.

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