SALT LAKE CITY — The ninth annual Bishop’s Dinner brought about 500 people to the Grand America on Sept. 20 to benefit the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
"The cathedral is not just a building, it’s not just a historic site, it’s not just in the center of your city, right in the midst of where we live, but it is a place of transcendence that lifts our minds and hearts to God by the beauty and the symbols and the richness of the music and all the wonderful dimensions of this great cathedral," said the Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson, who was the keynote speaker.
A cathedral, Bishop Kicanas added, "was built for worship, for giving praise and glory to God. A cathedral breathes in the atmosphere of prayer. That is certainly what happens when people come, not just to see the beauty of the place, but to be uplifted."
Among the dignitaries who attended the dinner were the Most Rev. Gerardo Humberto Flores Reyes, Bishop emeritus of Guatemala; Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Bishop Scott B. Hayashi of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah; the Very Rev. Ray Waldon, dean of the Cathedral Church of Saint Mark in Salt Lake City; Mexican consul Socorro Rovirosa; Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon; and numerous priests from the Diocese of Salt Lake City, including Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general; Monsignor Joseph M. Mayo, rector and pastor of the Cathedral of the Madeleine; Monsignor M. Francis Mannion, who gave the opening prayer; and Monsignor J. Terrence Fitzgerald, vicar general emeritus and honorary chairman of the event.
The dinner was dedicated to Msgr. Mannion, the Cathedral’s pastor from 1986 to 2000, who oversaw the interior renovation. Msgr. Mannion also "was so instrumental in developing the kinds of programs that are so much a part of the Cathedral fabric," Msgr. Mayo said.
Bishop Kicanas said the presence of so many people from other faiths at the dinner was a tribute to the Utah community. "Tonight we get a glimpse of hope – people are willing to share their resources to continue to make this beautiful place of which we are so proud something for our children and our grandchildren and for generations to come," he said.
The Cathedral, he added, "has a mission of purpose to be a place of worship, to be a place of beautiful music lifting our hearts and minds to God, a place where people can learn about their faith and the richness of their faith; a place where people in need can come and call home.... This can’t be just a building – it has to be a place of mission."
The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, echoed these thoughts in his remarks. The Cathedral belongs to the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Bishop Wester said, "but it’s more than that. It belongs to our community, it belongs to Utah. It is a place where all are welcome, and it’s a place that you make possible. Yes, we stand on the shoulders of giants, but we all have to step forward and be giants to continue such a legacy, to continue such a beautiful building."
During the dinner, a video was shown that depicted various Cathedral ministries: liturgies, altar servers, the Spanish Masses that began in 2004, the Good Samaritan program, the Madeleine Choir School, the Eccles Organ Festival and the Madeleine Festival of the Arts and Humanities.
The Cathedral "serves as a beacon in our community as something special, something more, something beyond our horizon," Bishop Wester said in his remarks at the close of the dinner. "It reminds us of all of those who have gone before us, who have left us such a beautiful and precious legacy. Its grandeur and splendor deepen within us a sense that we are humble servants, humble stewards, who have been charged to care for this beautiful edifice. Its quiet beauty beckons us to reach more deeply into our souls, to a place where God speaks to tenderly and lovingly. It’s truly a window into the depths of God’s love and into the hearts of our neighbor."