SALT LAKE CITY — In 1993, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City received Pope John Paul II’s congratulations as 27 bishops from the western United States, along with the papal pro-nuncio, gathered for the rededication of the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
The cathedral had closed two years earlier for a $8.1 million renovation that reconfigured the worship space to meet the changes required by Vatican II. The altar was moved forward, the tabernacle was given its own space and an immersion baptism font was added. In addition, the building was given a seismic retrofitting. A new organ, new Stations of the Cross and two new bells were installed. The murals and stained glass windows – both of which required specialized cleaning treatment – were restored, among other work.
Now, 25 years later, several people who were instrumental in helping to provide the beauty seen today in the cathedral will be recognized at the 2018 Bishop’s Dinner. The Most Rev. William K. Weigand, seventh Bishop of Salt Lake City, who oversaw the project and was the general chairman of the capital campaign, will give the opening prayer at the dinner.
Bishop Weigand “is the one who made the renovation happen,” said the Very Rev. Martin Diaz, rector of the cathedral. “We’re thankful for the foresight of Bishop Weigand. We’re thankful for the work that Msgr. Mannion did to make the cathedral what it is today.”
Msgr. M. Francis Mannion was rector of the cathedral during the renovation. Now retired, he is pastor emeritus at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Salt Lake City.
“We’re living with the legacy of what 25 years ago these people did,” Fr. Diaz said. “Our job is to keep the cathedral open, our job is to move it forward.”
The Bishop’s Dinner helps do just that. Started in 2004, the dinner’s mission to raise funds to preserve and maintain the cathedral’s beauty for generations to come.
During this year’s dinner, a video will honor the memory of Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. and Ian M. Cumming, who both died last year. The two men were among those who co-chaired the capital campaign for the renovation.
The cathedral’s reopening in 1993 was marked by several celebrations, including a blessing of the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine, a rededication to public service, and a rededication to sacred service. The homilist for the Feb. 20, 1993 ceremony that rededicated the cathedral to public service was Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, then Archbishop of Los Angeles. According to the Feb. 26, 1993 Intermountain Catholic, the cardinal “had seen the cathedral before its closing” and said the difference after the renovation was “extraordinary. Of course, a cathedral is always something to take pride in, but the enhanced beauty of this renovated house of God is striking.”
The Bishop’s Dinner draws support not only from Catholic parishes and lay groups from throughout the diocese, but also businesses and members of various faiths in the wider community. The ecumenical support comes in part because the Cathedral of the Madeleine hosts various community events such as the Eccles Organ Festival and the Madeleine Festival of the Arts & Humanities. In addition, the cathedral provides charity through the Good Samaritan Program, which gives sack meals to any and all who come to the door.
WHAT: 2018 Bishop’s Dinner
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 6
WHERE: Grand America Hotel, 555 Main St., Salt Lake City
COST: $175 per ticket
Social hour begins at 6 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m. To reserve a sponsor table or seats, call Patricia Wesson at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, 801-328-8941 ext. 108.