Utah Catholics kicked off their weeklong hundredth anniversary celebration of the Cathedral of the Madeleine in downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday with a night of symbolism, speeches and ceremony dedicated to the "courageous pioneer founders" who made the soaring Gothic structure a center of the state's communal life.
"We give thanks to Almighty God for helping this cathedral contribute to the civic and cultural legacy of the state of Utah," Bishop John C. Wester said in his opening statement.
Nearly a thousand people filled the pews in the cathedral's stunning sanctuary, including the entire LDS First Presidency and their wives, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson, Episcopal priest the Rev. Caryl Marsh, University of Utah President Michael Young and his wife, Suzan, and Mexican Consul Ignacio Rios Navarro.
"This majestic edifice is a vital and integral part of Salt Lake City," said LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, who represented the cathedral's interfaith efforts on behalf of the poor and afflicted.
Monson, worldwide leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, described a long-standing friendship between the two churches.
The cathedral's bells had tolled at the death of every LDS president, from Joseph F. Smith in 1918 to Gordon B. Hinckley, nine decades later, a gesture Monson described as a "demonstration of our ecumenical brotherhood."
Monson discussed Mormon contributions to Catholic humanitarian programs, from refugee resettlement and meals for the homeless to $11.2 million in aid to Catholic Charities' international relief projects.
At the dedication of the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter, then Salt Lake Catholic Bishop William Weigand was blessing the participants with holy water. When he came to Monson, the bishop "seemed to have a bit more enthusiasm in his sprinkling," Monson said Sunday.
Later, when the two were together again, Monson mentioned the dousing.
"It didn't seem to hurt you any, did it?" Weigand said with a wry smile.
Such playfulness was just one indication of the good will that exists between the faiths, Monson said. "Our churches will meet the needs of the poor by all of us working together. ... We can put nomenclature aside, as did our Lord and Savior."
The Bible readings and musical selections were offered in English and Spanish alternately, and every speech was followed by an offering of symbolic gifts from groups represented by the speaker. For example, Young praised the Catholic contribution to Utah's educational system, creating about 11 educational institutions, after which Sister Catherine Kamphaus, superintendent of Catholic schools, presented "the Gospel Book" to the bishop.
Corroon described his own experiences in the cathedral, from making bologna sandwiches for the Good Samaritan Program to his own wedding and his three children's experiences at the Cathedral Choir School.
"This cathedral has served me and this community well for 100 years," he said. "It has been the focal point of the Catholic Church in Utah but has also served the entire community."
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. » Centennial lecture by Deacon Owen Cummings.
Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m. » The Cathedral Choir and Orchestra and Choristers of the Madeleine Choir School will perform "The Dream of Gerontius" by Edward Elgar. Free guaranteed-seating passes are available by calling 801-994-4663 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Friday, 5:30 p.m. » Children of the diocese will walk from the location of the original church-cathedral, as 200 children did a hundred years ago. They will begin at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, 231 E. 100 South, and proceed to the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Info: Arlie Llenares, 801-328-8941, ext. 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, 6 p.m. » Vespers for the Solemnity of the Assumption will feature the most Rev. George H. Niederauer, archbishop of San Francisco and former Salt Lake City bishop, as homilist. Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, and other bishops will be present. All are invited, and guaranteed-seating passes are available by calling 801-328-8941, ext. 114, or e-mailing email@example.com.
Friday, 8 p.m. » The Latin music group Son by Four from Puerto Rico will perform. All are invited. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aug. 15, 2 p.m. » Solemn Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption on the centennial anniversary will be celebrated in English and Spanish, with Bishop Wester presiding. Cardinal Levada will give the homily (sermon). The Cathedral Choir and El Coro Hispano de la Catedral will assist with the liturgy. Seating is limited, and passes are required; contact Laurel Dokos, 801-328-8941, ext. 114, or email@example.com.
Aug. 15, 6 p.m. » The Centennial Bishop's Dinner for the benefit of the cathedral will be at the Grand America Hotel. Cardinal Levada will be the featured speaker. Info: Laurel Dokos, 801-328-8941, ext. 108, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aug. 16, 11 a.m. » Parish centennial Mass; Bishop Wester presiding. All are invited.
Aug. 16, 3 p.m. » Spanish centennial Mass with the most Rev. William K. Weigand, bishop emeritus of Sacramento, Calif., and a former Salt Lake City bishop, celebrating.