Cathedral of the Madeleine

Cathedral of the Madeleine

The Cathedral of the Madeleine, is located at 331 East South Temple in Salt Lake City Utah. Led by The Right Reverend Lawrence Scanlan, Salt Lake City's first bishop, construction on the cathedral began with a land purchase in 1900 and ended nine years later. Architects Carl Neuhausen and Bernard Mecklenburg combined a predominantly Romanesque exterior with a Gothic interior on the structure. The total cost for construction was $344,000. A $9.7 million renovation begun in 1991 substantially enhanced and strengthened the structure. The renewed building was rededicated on February 21, 1993 and the cathedral is listed on both the Utah and national registers of historic places.

Significant features of the cathedral include:

  • Baptismal Font: Made of Carrara onyx and glass mosaic, the font combines a traditional upper font with a lower immersion area where adults had water poured over their heads. Symbolism includes the cross and its eight sides, signifying the 'eighth day' of eternity. Immersion fonts hark back to ancient practices of baptism by immersion.
  • Confessionals: The two confessionals in the rear were enlarged in 1993.
  • Shrines of Charity: To St. Anthony of Padua (carved in 1918) and St. Vincent de Paul (carved in 1993). They symbolize the church's commitment to the poor.
  • The Organ: New in 1992, it is an English-style organ with 4,066 pipes and stands in a Gothic case. It is used both for services and concerts.
  • Stained Glass Windows: Among the interior's most fantastic pieces, they portray classic Catholic themes such as the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Descent of the Holy Spirit.
  • Stations of the Cross: The 14 stations were painted by Utah artist Roger Wilson in 1992 and 1993 and generally follow a revised version dictated by the Vatican in 1975. They combine traditional iconography with American Southwest coloration.
  • The Altar: Built of Carrara onyx inlaid with glass mosaic, the altar is the central element of the cathedral and occupies a large stage at the intersection of the cathedral's three main seating areas. It contains relics of St. Gratus, Bishop of Aosta in Piedmont, Italy, who died in 457, which signify the call to sainthood.
  • Blessed Sacrament Chapel: Standing in the rear of the main chancel, this chapel is reserved for the sick or for private veneration. To the east is the Ambry, which holds holy oils. The chapel was installed in 1993.
  • Shrine of the St. Mary Magdalen: The patroness of the cathedral, this shrine and the large painting above it are among the most riveting features of the cathedral. Mary looks up to Christ, who is painted above her.
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