Cathedral of the Madeleine
Backstory and Context
The cathedral was built under the direction of Lawrence Scanlan, the first bishop of Salt Lake. It was designed by architects Carl M. Neuhausen and Bernard O. Mecklenburg. The outside is predominantly a Neo-Romanesque design, while the inside tends more toward the Neo-Gothic. Construction began in 1900 and was completed in 1909. It was dedicated by Cardinal James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore.
The interior of the cathedral was created under the direction of Joseph S. Glass, the second bishop of Salt Lake. Bishop Glass enlisted John Theodore Comes, one of the preeminent architects in the country, to decorate the interior of the cathedral. His plans for the interior were largely based upon the Spanish Gothic style. The colorful murals and polychrome were added at this time, as were the ornate shrines.
In the 1970s, the exterior of the building was restored, and between 1991 and 1993, the interior of the Cathedral was renovated and restored under Bishop William K. Weigand. This included not only the removal of dust and dirt and restoration of the interior but also changes to the liturgical elements of the cathedral to bring them into conformity with certain widespread changes in liturgical practice that developed after the Second Vatican Council.
This included building a new altar, moving the bishop's chair, providing a separate chapel for the Blessed Sacrament, and adding a more ample baptismal font. The major restoration of the interior of the cathedral was accomplished through the vision of Monsignor M. Francis Mannion.
The Cathedral is home to the only co-educational Catholic Choir School in the United States. The Madeleine Choir School, established in 1996, now serves over 350 students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade Eight.