Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City

Altar, Cathedral of the Madeleine

Altar, Cathedral of the Madeleine

Given the somber appearance of the outside of this Catholic cathedral, I was astonished when I walked inside and saw the wonderfully colorful interior. The Cathedral was built between 1900 and 1909 under the leadership of Bishop Scanlan. Whenever I visit Catholic Churches in the States, I expect either an Irish name, as in this case, or a Spanish name. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family and it was common in the old days for the oldest boy of a family to go into the priesthood, whether he wanted to or not. Our Parish Priest was a wonderfully arrogant example of this…😇 (When you read to the end of this post, I think you will agree that I am headed to Purgatory for bloggers…) As I looked at the engraving of Bishop Scanlan below, I wondered about his long journey to the alien landscape of Utah.

bishop-scanlan

When I researched The Cathedral of the Madeleine, I noted that the interior was inspired by the Spanish Gothic style of the late middle ages. Although I visited Madrid years ago, I don’t think I have ever seen a Cathedral that looked quite like this one. It was magnificent. I could imagine a Lenten Mass with the incensor or thurible burning with that evocative smell of the Middle East.

Stages of the Cross

Stages of the Cross

All Roman Catholic churches have a set of pictures called the steps of the cross which depict the day of Jesus’s crucifixion. This one was unique and slightly surreal. Before Easter we traditionally prayed at each stage. Our church, in Scotland, was very modern, created by some fancy architect but not really appealing to the majority of the parishioners. I looked at current images online and I couldn’t recognize it – all the colors had been changed to white which really emphasized the beautiful stained glass. There must be so few parishioners that there were just some chairs – no rows of kneeling benches. It was so busy when I was growing up that it was standing room only. How sad and yet reflective of our times.

Epistle Altar

Epistle Altar

I loved this epistle altar to the right of the main alter. The colors are so rich – imagine how lovely it would be on a cold Utah Christmas Day? There is always a funny story to every travelogue and this one happened as I was trying to cross the road to enter the church. There were some roadworks and it made it difficult to see where the pedestrian crossing was. I noted that all the locals religiously crossed when they should, so I followed the herd. At the Cathedral, I just couldn’t figure out where it was so just decided to cross the road – jay walking, I guess. I was obviously a tourist lady who was lost trying to get to her church but a truck slowed down, when I was in the middle, and shouted, “Use the Crosswalk!” My first thought was to shout, ‘F*****g Asshole’ but I was inhibited by being in Salt Lake City and in front of a cathedral. Instead I yelled, “Shut Up” which seemed to surprise him. I was so mad that I had to stay outside the Cathedral for a while because I couldn’t go inside with all the thoughts of what I would do to that trucker if I saw him again… 😈 I guess he didn’t like Catholics – join the club!

Anyway, once the devil hopped off my shoulder, I went in and lit some candles for all my friends, family and bloggers who are struggling just now. 😇

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28 thoughts on “Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City

  1. Well done for taking your expletives in that setting …. I’d have burned the trucker with a mouthful of ripe language and then been mortified! I imagine the interior is very welcome to worshippers with that cheerful Hispanic colour scheme – I was always jealous of my catholic friends as a girl …. The interiors were always so much more magnificently opulent than plain old C of E innards. ☺️

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    • I haven’t seen a church quite like this one although there are some lovely painted churches in the center of Texas, by German and Czech immigrants. Scottish Catholic churches tend to be less glamorous than those in England – less money, I expect!

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      • How interesting ….. I can’t wait to get back here next year which will be for at least 18 months and get out searching for some of the things you and others have pointed me too …. Whether or not I am walking like a pigeon-duck-penguin 🐧🐦🐤😂😂😂

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      • The second specialist is doing a nerve procedure tomorrow which will determine precisely how and where the nerve is functioning/impaired. The ankle, miraculously is stable and healing well despite no intervention nor immobilisation, the fibular exploded in the impact and he needs to run further tests to determine whether surgery is viable. He thinks not. I have a state of the art carbon fibre brace and foot support on order and now sleep in the SEXIEST splint imaginable (heavy irony implied on the latter). And of course there is Physical Therapy. The real bummer is that it all means we have had to cancel the fortnight in Hawaii for my birthday … We were supposed to be leaving today BUT we are going to travel to Vermont to see the fall colours and covered bridges which is also on my wish list so life is full of twists and turns but the silver linings are there under the microscope 🍁🍂💫

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      • I had a full length old style cast on for a year (with changes) so I feel your pain. I went crazy with knitting needles…
        I don’t know how you did what you did but I would have expected after a triple maneuver in gymnastics! Vermont in the Fall is further up my bucket list that Hawaii so have a wonderful time and don’t exert that poor leg. K x

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      • I slipped on loose shingle on a path coming down Artthurs Seat and remain convinced he pushed me 😂😂😂 I cannot imagine being in plaster for a year …. How ghastly frustrating that must have been. Hopefully this device will aid walking and in any event I can perfect my Forext Gump impersonation 😉. I’m really excited for Vermont …. Didn’t think I would make it this time so it’s a bonus ball indeed 😊

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  2. Hahaha you are human Kerry, a couple of unsavoury thoughts to the trucker…shock and horror hahaha, who blames you ! Your pics of the Cathedral are beautiful. I wasn’t aware that the eldest boy of an Irish Catholic family had to go into Priesthood in the old days, so interesting. I can’t imagine that went down too well with some of them. Have a great weekend. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Lynne. There were a couple of reasons for sending your son to seminary. After the potato famine, you could be sure that one of your children would be comfortably off for life and the other was that there was some considerable prestige with having a son as a priest.

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  3. Beautiful photos – I visited a Cathedral here in town down Pensacola and learned about the steps of the cross from Gary – he grew up catholic. Anyway, I had the devil on my shoulder quite a bit this past week while in the hospital. Lovely post dear, enjoy your weekend. 🙂

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    • LOL! I know exactly what Purgatory is. It was always implied that if I didn’t behave that’s were I would go. It would be unthinkable in most of America for anyone to touch a church’s windows. There is amazing stained glass in the smallest villages all over Texas.

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