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After the Generation Life STL procession to Planned Parenthood, young people gathered on the steps of the Cathedral Basilica before heading into Mass in January 2016.
After the Generation Life STL procession to Planned Parenthood, young people gathered on the steps of the Cathedral Basilica before heading into Mass in January 2016.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston

Gala event to help with upkeep of cathedral basilica

Fundraiser needed to provide help in preserving a magnificent structure

The Inaugural Cathedral Basilica Gala is planned Sunday, Aug. 26, part of an effort to raise funds for the preservation and restoration of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

The cathedral basilica, in the Central West End, is considered by travel guides such as worldsiteguides.com as a masterpiece of art and history, rivaling the grandest cathedrals in the world. Artisans, craftsmen, stonecutters and masons spent almost a century to complete the structure and its 83,000 square feet of mosaic tile.

Father Joseph Jiang, associate pastor of the cathedral basilica, said: “You see so many people coming here who are awe-struck. It’s a breath-taking place and so beautiful.”

The Friends of the Cathedral and a few donors have helped with the upkeep in recent years, such as restoring the pews, cleaning the mosaics, repairing windows in the lower level and more. But additional funds are needed for costly repairs and upkeep.

“This is a treasure that belongs to the entire archdiocese,” Father Jiang said. “We have to preserve this beautiful place where many people come to worship.”

About one thousand GenLifeSTL youths prayed at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis before marching in pilgrimage to pray at the Planned Parenthood facility on Forest Park Blvd. in January 2016
Photo Credits: Lisa Johnston
The event is designed to be held annually and create more awareness and ownership of the mother church of the archdiocese, he said. “This is your home,” he said.

The new Msgr. Joseph D. Pins Award will be presented at the gala event to Rosemary and Joseph F. Shaughnessy Jr. The cathedral basilica parishioners are faithful supporters of the church and many other civic, charitable and Catholic causes. Joseph Shaughnessy Jr. is co-founder of BSI Constructors. Msgr. Pins was rector of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis Parish for more than 10 years when he died in 2015 at age 70. He had served early in his priesthood as associate pastor of the parish.

Msgr. Joseph Simon, who has served as rector of the cathedral basilica for three years, extended his thanks for the help. “One of the concerns I’ve had is the preservation of the building,” Msgr. Simon said. “I see the the need to have a plan in place for the renovation.”

Darryl Ross, a parishioner who is co-chair of the event with his wife, Ellen, said, “as we all know as buildings get a little older they also tend to need more upkeep and preservation. The goal of this gala is to raise funds for projects as they arise.”

A current project involves assisting the parish with repairs to the air conditioning and heating of the cathedral basilica. In addition, the doors are in need of restoration.

>> Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

The Inaugural Cathedral Basilica Gala is a success, with all tables filled. But additional contributions still are needed for the cause — helping with the preservation of the mother church of the archdiocese.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis Parish has a mission of hospitality to the rest of the archdiocese and other visitors. It is well known all over the world because of its mosaics, which are designed to remind all that God reaches into earthly lives.

For details on making a contribution, contact Susie Irons at the cathedral basilica rectory at (314) 373-8205 or sirons@cathedralstl.org.

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