The Cathedral Bells are rung and pealed to announce worship services and celebrate joyous occasions, or they are tolled to call mourners to prayer. Four bells, named after Saints Joseph, Mary, Cecilia and Michael, are housed in the west tower. Two original bells were cast at the Maryland Brass Foundry in 1917. The largest bell (Joseph) weighs 2,650 pounds and is tuned to the pitch E. The second-largest bell (Mary) weighs 1,300 pounds and is tuned to the pitch A. Both of the original bells bear Latin inscriptions, the Mary bell reading in part "I praise the true God...I call the people...I do honor to feasts." Two new bells, installed by the Verdin Company of Cincinnati in 1993 ring at pitch B (Cecilia) and pitch C# (Michael). The Cecilia bell's inscription reads "Sing joyfully to the Lord, all the earth: ring out your joy." The Michael bell reads "The time of earth will pass away, but not the time of heaven."
The Dedication Crosses mark the twelve places on which the walls of the Cathedral were anointed with Oil of Chrism at its dedication on February 21, 1993. The candles on the crosses are lighted each year on the anniversary of this dedication. The dedication crosses originate from the Cathedral's earlier consecration in 1936.
Stations of the Cross
The fourteen Stations of the Cross were painted by Utah artist Roger (Sam) Wilson in 1992 and 1993. They replace a set of stations painted in 1918 which had since deteriorated badly. The new stations, starting at the northeast end of the building, begin with Jesus in the Garden of Olives and end with the burial of Christ. They generally follow a revised (and more biblical) version of the stations produced by the Vatican in 1975 and issued in various versions since then.
The stations combine elements of traditional iconography and American Southwestern coloration within a postmodern style. In developing each scene, the artist uses flowers, animals and various symbolic elements to draw out its meaning and significance. The frames of the stations were carved and installed in 1918 by William F. Ross and Company of East Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Tabernacle
The tabernacle tower, in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved for the sick and for private veneration, stands in the middle of the Blessed Sacrament chapel behind the chancel screen, and is inspired by late medieval sacrament towers or sacrament houses. It is the focal point of this chapel.
The brass tabernacle proper is in the shape of a building and is inspired by the design of the north end of the cathedral exterior.
At the north end of the Blessed Sacrament chapel is the tomb of the Right Reverend Lawrence Scanlan, the fist bishop of Salt Lake, under whose leadership the Cathedral was built. The tomb was adapted from the high altar used in the Cathedral from 1918-1965.
Directly in the center of the chapel is the reliquary of St. Mary Magdalen, patroness of the Cathedral. The reliquary rests on the tomb of Bishop Scanlan.
At the back of the chancel in front of the screen is the bishop's chair or cathedra. This is the seat of the bishop and symbolizes his office presiding over the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Above the chair is the bishop's coat of arms. To the right and left of the bishop's chair are deacon stools and seating for concelebrating clergy. The presiding priest's chair is second from the west end of the screen.
The chancel area is divided from the Blessed Sacrament chapel by a chancel screen. Inspired by the medieval rood screen, it was made of hand-carved North American white oak by British master carvers Agrell and Thorpe Ltd. It reflects the general character of the 1918 woodwork in the cathedral, particularly the St. Mary Magdalen shrine at the north end.
Chapels and Shrines
On the side of the main sanctuary are two shrines: the Lady Chapel on the west and the Chapel of St. Joseph on the east. They represent some of the most valuable and high quality elements in the Cathedral and have a notably Spanish Gothic character. The Lady Chapel has three carved scenes representing the flight into Egypt, the Holy Family, and the finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. The statues are of St. Lawrence (right top); St. Bernard (right center); St Bonaventure (right bottom); St. Bartholomew (left top); the Cure of Ars (left center); and St. Blaise (left bottom).
The St. Joseph Chapel on the west side has three carved nativity scenes depicting the annunciation to the Shepherds, the birth of Christ and the Adoration of the Magi. The carved figures are those of St. Nicholas Toletino (left top); St. Anthony the Great (left center); St. James the Great (left bottom); St. Martin (right top); St. Dominic (right center); and St. Sylvester (right bottom).
Over the Lady Chapel stands a prominent statue of St. Peter; and over the St. Joseph Chapel is one of St. Paul, both carved by Franz Aretz of Pittsburgh.
Wood carvings in the Cathedral were completed by famous sculptors. Those in the reredos are by Isaac Kirchmayer, considered the best wood carver in the United States. The linen folds on his carvings are a characteristic trademark of Kirchmayer. Above the main altar on each side of the picture of Mary Magdalene, the Kirchmayer statues represent founders of religious orders: on the east, Benedict, Clare and Dominic; and, on the west, Ignatius of Loyola, Terese of Avilla and Francis of Assisi. Several sculptors in the same family worked on the Cathedral and one father and son pair regretted not having anyplace to leave their signature. So the father and son each took a block of wood and facing one another, carved the likeness of the other. They then affixed these two carvings to the sedilla (seat or bench for presiders at Mass), which now serves as the ambry (place of reservation for the holy oils). The carvings remain a fitting signature to the ingenuity and talent of these sculptors.
Murals in Sanctuary
The murals at the front of the Cathedral were designed and painted by Felix Lieftuchter in 1918. They represent a combination of Byzantine, Spanish Gothic, and modern styles. At the center is the figure of Christ on the Cross, with God the Father and the Holy Spirit above. At the bottom of the Cross are a pelican and her children, symbolizing Christ's sacrifice since the pelican feeds its young with its own blood.
The left mural depicts prominent Christian figures (St. Joan of Arc, St. Venatius, St. John the Baptist, St. Gregory, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Agnes, St. Pascal Baylon, St. Jerome. St. Helena, St. Stephen), and the right mural depicts Old Testament figures (Adam and Eve, Isaiah, Ester, Ruth, Melchizedek, Moses, David, St. Anne, Judith).
The mural in the west transept is of the woman (traditionally identified as Mary Magdalene) washing the feet of Jesus. In the east transept there is portrayed the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene following the Resurrection.
The crossing over the altar contains panels of angels, as do the upper regions of the vaulting throughout the Cathedral. The coats of arms of the eight bishops of the diocese are also found in the walls of the transepts.
The Striking blue and starred ceiling over the Blessed Sacrament chapel signifies the vault of heaven. Also painted by Felix Lieftuchter, it represents the influence of modern art on the artist's work.
In 1909, a 27 rank electro-pneumatic organ was built and installed by the Kimball Company of Chicago. It was rebuilt by Schoenstein of San Francisco in 1953. By the mid 1980's, this organ had come to the end of its natural life and was replaced in 1992 by a new 77/79 rank mechanical action English-style organ built by Kenneth Jones and Associates of Bray, Ireland. The organ, which has 4,066 pipes, stands in a Gothic case designed to match the woodwork installed in the Comes interior of 1918. A notable element of the organ is the Fanfare Trumpet that extends from the front of the choir gallery. The organ serves both liturgical and concert purposes.
Stained Glass Windows
Originally designed by F. X. Zettler of the House of Littler, Royal Bavarian Institute in Munich, Germany, and installed in 1908, the windows in the body of the Cathedral were completely rebuilt in 1992 by Rohlf Studios of New York. The windows on the west side (from back to front) portray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary (The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Presentation of Jesus, and the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple). The last of these is portrayed in the large west transept window, at the top of which is a scene of the woman, reputed to be St. Mary Magdalen, washing the feet of Jesus. Represented around this scene are (clockwise form the top) St. Gregory, St. Matthew, St. Jerome, St. Mark, St. Augustine, St. Luke, St. Ambrose, and St. John.
The windows on the east side (from front to back), beginning with the large east transept window, depict the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary (The Resurrection, The Ascension, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, The Assumption of Mary, and The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven). The Resurrection window also contains a medallion of Christ appearing to St. Mary Magdalen. Around this scene are (clockwise from the top) St. Farancis de Sales, St. Agnes, St. Stephen, St, Ignatius, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bernard, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Monica.
The two windows in the Blessed Sacrament chapel were designed by George W. Sotter of Pittsburgh in 1918 and display images of the twelve apostles. These windows exhibit a distinctly different style of stained glass from that in the body of the church. At the rear of the Cathedral above the organ is the great Rose Window depicting St. Cecilia, patroness of music, surrounded by angels with musical instruments.
The altar, the central element in a Catholic church and the focal point of liturgical events, is built of Carrara onyx and inlaid with glass mosaic. It stands on a chancel (marble floor) designed to highlight and heighten its centrality and significance. The placement of the altar at the crossing marks its identity as the center and heart of the Cathedral. The centrality of the altar is further defined by four large chandeliers that hang in its vicinity. These, along with the other chandeliers and light fixtures, were designed by Roger Morgan of New York and installed in 1993. The altar contains relics of St. Gratus, Bishop of Aosta in Piedmont, Northern Italy, who died in 457, and St. Fenusta, an early Roman martyr buried in the Roman catacombs. The relics signify the call to sainthood of all who approach Christ's table and the link across space and time between every eucharist. The altar is visually related to the baptismal font, both in materials and style, symbolizing the close relationship between baptism and the Mass.
The two confessionals at the rear of the cathedral originally carved by William F. Ross and Company of East Cambridge, Massachusetts, and installed in 1918, were reconstructed in 1993 to more ample proportions to facilitate both face-to-face confession and confession behind a screen. Significantly, the confessionals flank the baptismal font to symbolize the nature of sacramental confession as a renewal of baptismal commitment.
Shrines of Charity
Inside the inner back doors are shrines to two saints well known for their charitable work. On the east side is the statue of St. Anthony of Padua, carved by Henry Schmitt of Buffalo in 1918. On the west is a statue of St. Vincent de Paul, the founder of the Vincentians (the order to which Bishop Glass belonged), carved in 1993 by Agrell and Thorpe, Ltd., Sausalito, California. These shrines symbolize the cathedral's commitment to charity and service to the poor.
The baptismal font, made of Carrara onyx and glass mosaic, combines a traditional-style upper font with a lower font. The lower baptismal font is patterned after fonts used in the early centuries of the Catholic Church. The font, dedicated in 1993, combines the symbolism of the octagon (signifying the "eighth day" of eternity), the cross (signifying Jesus' death and resurrection) and, at the center of the lower font, an ornate pattern that can read as paradise, a crown, the sun, the tree of life, or the axis mundi (center of the world.) The lower font responds to the efforts of the Second Vatican council to restore early Christian baptismal practices and accommodates both the pouring of water and immersion.
Gothic Interior of Cathedral
The interior of the Cathedral has gone through three phases. the first interior (1909-1918) was quite simple with white walls and green columns.
The second interior was created under the leadership of Joseph S. Glass, who became the second Bishop of Salt Lake City in 1915. A man of strong artistic sensibility, Bishop Glass undertook a thorough reconstruction of the art and furnishings, inspired by the Spanish gothic art of the late Middle Ages. The colorful murals in the sanctuary and transepts were added at that time, as was the ornate and dramatic coloration evident throughout the building. This interior was completed before Christmas, 1918.
Under the leadership of William K. Weigand, seventh Bishop of Salt Lake City (1980-1994), the restoration of the second interior, which had suffered the effects of dirt and pollution, was planned and executed. This included the renovation of the liturgical elements of the Cathedral to bring them into conformity with he liturgical reforms that followed Vatican Council II. It was completed in 1993.
Chapel of Our Lady of Zion
Formerly the baptistery, the chapel is on the east side of the main exit from the Cathedral. It houses the statue acquired in 1993. Madonna and Child by Utah artist Avard Fairbanks. It also contains six original stained glass windows from the early part of this century and two new windows described as the "Vatican II windows." Installed in 1993, the new windows celebrate two of the most important achievements of the Second Vatican Council: the ecumenical movement, symbolized by the standard ecumenical emblem, and the church's commitment to dialogue with the modern world, symbolized by the United Nations' symbol and the words "Lumen Gentium" referring to the church as the light to the nations. The statue of St. Mary Magadalen, carved in the late 1940's by Canadian artist Gordon Newby, is also housed in this room.
The result of seven years of labor, the tympanum above the main doors is the work of Francis Aretz of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shipped in several pieces to Salt Lake City in 1917, the tympanum features the figure of Christ as High Priest, flanked by an angel on each side; and the Twelve Apostles, six standing and six kneeling, each with his appropriate symbol. The four great Doctors of the Church, Saints Jerome, Ambrose, Gregory and Augustine, appear in the upper half of the work. The four Evangelists, Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John appear surrounding the arms of the central cross.
Eight gargoyles look down from the 185-feet-high east and west towers. The gargoyles are primarily decorative, and do not serve as water spouts as do those on many of the cathedrals of Europe. The original gargoyles placed on the Cathedral in 1917 weathered and eroded to the extent that hey were nonexistent by 1930. In the 1975 restoration, eight new steel-reinforced gargoyles, weighing 1,200 pounds each, were placed on the Cathedral. Each gargoyle, made by University of Utah art student Peter Cole, represents a petrified combination of a bird, a dog and a cat.
The Cathedral's Romanesque exterior, composed of Utah sandstone, remains substantially the same today as it was upon completion in 1909. Exceptions are the removal of the original stained glass windows in the sanctuary and the addition of a tympanum over the main doors.
Between 1975 and 1980, under the leadership of Joseph Lennox Federal, sixth Bishop of Salt Lake City, exterior renovations took place, including a new copper roof and work to restore and preserve the porous sandstone exterior from further erosion. The gargoyles were also replaced at that time.