Cathedral’s Centennial

Nov. 18-Dec. 1, 2004
Cathedral’s Centennial
By Eileen Jevis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Celebrates Dual Milestones

“Hail, then O Immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and men.” — Marian Apostle St. Louis Marie de Montfort

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will celebrate with several activities two significant anniversaries: 150 years since the declaration of the dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception and 100 years since St. Mary’s Church and Parish was designated by the bishop as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for the Syracuse Diocese.

On Feb. 28, 1476, Pope Sixtus IV adopted the feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception for the entire Latin (Roman) Church. Pope St. Pius V (1566-1572) inserted a new and simplified Office of the Immaculate Conception in liturgical books. The Franciscans, in 1621, named Mary Immaculate the patron of their order. The First Council of Baltimore in 1846 declared the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of the United States. Finally, on Dec. 8, 1854, Blessed Pope Pius IX, in his apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus (God Indescribable), pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary: “In the first instant of her conception by a singular privilege and grace granted by God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Savior of the human race was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

In 1841, the parish of St. Mary’s was established in Syracuse. In 1874, due to the growth of the parish, the cornerstone was laid and construction begun on a new church building, the present cathedral. Under the leadership of St. Mary’s second pastor, Father James O’Hara, the major theme of the stained glassed windows was chosen. The Virgin Mary; her Immaculate Conception is exemplified by the center window in the apse and her coronation as Queen of Heaven in the magnificent rose window in the east wall above the Roosevelt organ.

On March 13, 1904, 50 years after the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and 18 years after he had chosen St. John the Evangelist as his Cathedral, the first bishop of Syracuse, Most Reverend Patrick Ludden, named St. Mary’s Church his new cathedral and dedicated it as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. These two historic events will be commemorated in a four-day celebration on Dec. 8 – 11, 2004. The celebration, entitled “A Moment of Grace –– 150 Years Under Mary’s Care and Our Cathedral Centennial” will include Masses, a luncheon and concerts offering both contemporary and classical music as well as 50-page, four-color, 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch booklet with the same title as the celebration.

Father Joseph Champlin, rector of the Cathedral, said that all priests of the diocese as well as laity have been invited to the celebration, a potentially marvelous example of oneness.
Here is a list of the scheduled events:

Wednesday, Dec. 8 12:10 p.m. Mass: Bishop James Moynihan presiding and preaching: “150 years Under Mary’s Care”

Thursday, Dec. 9: 10:30 a.m. Mass: All clergy of the diocese invited and asked to bring several parish leaders. “A Cathedral of the 20th Century –– Our Own,” Bishop Thomas Costello preaching, Bishop Moynihan presiding. 12:30 p.m. Luncheon at the OnCenter: “A Cathedral for the 21st Century -–– Our Lady of Angels, Los Angeles.” Father Richard Vosko of Albany will be the main speaker.

Friday, Dec. 10: 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Music at the Cathedral: Part I, Contemporary Music will include a holiday medley by Maria DeSantis, Keith Condon and the DeSantis Orchestra; A Sacred Sing Along by Andree Clesse and Cathedral Folk Group; contemporary music performed by a variety of vocalists who have performed at the Cathedral over the past 10 years. These include Joe Carello Jazz Trio, Joe Whiting and the Soda Ash Six as part of the evening’s entertainment. The Daino Family has generously sponsored this evening of music.

Saturday Dec. 11: 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Music at the Cathedral: Part II, Classical Music throughout the evening will be performed on the organ, trumpet, flute, harp and bagpipes. The Liverpool High School Chorus will perform Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with a symphony orchestra. Mozart’s “Piano Concerto in A” with symphony orchestra, Selma Moore conductor and husband Kevin Moore, pianist. The evening’s musical entertainment was made possible through the sponsorship of Michael and Noreen Falcone.

Both Dec. 10 and 11 will feature a blend of secular and sacred music. The concerts are free and open to the public. The public is also invited to the Mass and luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 9. Tickets for the luncheon are $10 per person. The selection of music for the Mass will be performed in English, Latin and Spanish and will emphasize the diversity of the population who worship at the Cathedral Church.

During the 15th year of his pontificate, on Aug. 15, 1993, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter referring to the seventh centenary of Loreto. He stated, “When it comes to religion, a centenary is never just a chronological event. It is a moment of grace during which we gratefully remember the past, and with renewed dynamism, we look towards the future.” With this philosophy in mind, the Cathedral opens its doors to all for worship and prayer, acting as a home-away-from-home for hundreds of parishioners and visitors alike.

While there are no tours of the Cathedral scheduled as part of the Centennial event, they are available by appointment. One notable artifact on display at the Cathedral is a brick/tile taken from the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Pope Leo XIII on the occasion of the Cathedral’s dedication presented the brick, dated 1825, to Bishop Ludden. It is a tradition of the basilica for the door to be broken down every 25 years as a sign of a special year of prayer and grace. At the end of the year, the door is resealed. In this case the door, which was broken down in 1825 and resealed at the end of that year, was not opened again until 1900.

A complete historical review of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be published in the The Catholic SUN at a later date. During the events a free booklet will be distributed at the Masses, luncheon and concerts. It will also be available for sale at the Cathedral Gift Shop.

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