Religion in Utah is a huge part of the culture when people travel to the state. More often than not Utah religion is more associated with the Latterday Saints Church as opposed to Catholicism. The Cathedral of the Madeline is located in the heart of Salt Lake City and is surrounded by Catholic C hurch Volunteer Programs. The Madeline Cathedral was constructed in the early 1900’s and took almost ten years and $350,000 to complete. Although Catholicism in Utah may be surprising, there is a rich history of the religion in the state that actually dates back to the very founding of America in 1776.
The Madeline Cathedral was named after Saint Mary Magdalene, who is the patroness of converts, repentant sinners, and sexual temptation. Mary Magdalene was the first person who saw Jesus rise from the dead and is likely to have seen him be crucified by Pontius Pilot, she is revered in multiple Christian faiths as an important religious figure who was close to Jesus Christ.
I am originally from Philadelphia where there are longstanding community ties to the Catholic Church. When I moved to Salt Lake City two years ago I found myself a bit blindsided by the lack of religious diversity in the area. After almost a year I found the Madeline Cathedral and found myself stunned by the gorgeous gothic interior. Walking into the church one can’t help but be amazed by the grandiose interior and the warm reminiscent smell of burning incense that always remind me of Sunday mass with my family in Philadelphia.
I was intimidated to go to mass at such a beautiful and massive Cathedral alone- I don’t live close enough to my family for them to join me on Sundays. However, I began going weekly and quickly got to know and recognize the other Magdalene Parishioners. The Cathedral holds weekly post church gatherings with coffee and donuts as well as full Cathedral tours at the end of mass. The clergy at the Cathedral has a great sense of humor and even has “St. Paul and Pinot” nights that encourage drinking wine and discussing religion, which sounds like a great time to me!
What quickly made the Madeline Cathedral feel like home to me was the traditional Catholic Mass with Latin prayers. Many Catholic Churches are straying from the old traditions, so being able to reinvest myself into the old ways of the Church made Salt Lake City feel a little more like home to me.
Another really unique part of the Madeline Cathedral is the Madeline Choir School. Sunday Mass at 11 am is incredible in that you are obviously in such a stunning Cathedral to begin with, but when the choir enters and begins walking down the aisle singing the opening hymn and proceeds behind the chancel screen, it sets the tone for the entire mass. With expansive ceilings, the acoustics of the choir combined with the intensity of the organ are breathtaking and have become the highlight of my Sunday.
Not only does the Madeline Choir School perform at Sunday Mass, but they hold beautiful concerts in Salt Lake City that are incredibly popular in the area. In addition to hosting concerts in Salt Lake City, the Madeline Choir travels internationally to perform.
If you’re looking for a change in religious venue while in Utah, I highly suggest taking a trip to the Madeline Cathedral. Even if you are only looking for unique architecture in Utah and some perfect Instagram photos, the Madeline Cathedral is the perfect quick stop on your tour through Salt Lake. The Priests are incredibly accommodating, friendly, and open to answering any and all questions about both the religion and the Cathedral. You can find more information on the Madeline Cathedral here: http://utcotm.org and find concert tickets for the Madeline Choir School here: http://www.utmcs.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=290842&type=d&pREC_ID=669868