In the Scriptures, John 10, Jesus is called a “door.” Knock and it shall be opened, seek and you find, ask and you shall receive. Anything is possible on the other side of a door to a sacred place. These new doors, with glass, replace older solid doors to allow light into the lobby and to make an inviting statement.
The stairs to the lower level are one the left; stairs to the choir loft and elevator are on the right.
On the lower level of the Cathedral is Kress Hall where hospitality is shared and many different social activities occur. Restrooms, a kitchen, and meeting rooms are located on this level. You may use the elevator or the stairway to get to that level. It was not until 1946 that this parish hall
The baptismal font is designed to allow for the celebration of the initiation rituals of the Church. Baptisms may take place by immersion or by pouring water over the head of the candidate. This font has eight sides referring to the eighth day of the week, Sunday, the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The font is fabricated of Carnelian granite. Some of the columns from the 1939 altar railing are included in the font.
The tall candle next to the font is also called the Easter Candle. It was first lighted at the Easter Vigil with a flame from the new fire ignited on the Cathedral plaza. The candle is a symbol of the light of Christ. It remains near the font except during the Easter season when it stands near the ambo and altar table.
The main section of the cathedral is often called the nave, which means, “ship.” Today it also referred to as the place of the assembly, which also called the “Body of Christ” and the sacrament of unity. In the most recent renovation of the Cathedral a new terrazzo floor was installed, the coffered ceiling was reconstructed and painted and the pew benches were refinished. New movable chairs provide the opportunity for some flexibility near the altar area. A totally new lighting and acoustical system were also installed to enhance the worship experience.
The nave is a good place to look up and admire all of the windows, which were restored during the enhancement process. In 1938, 95 stained glass windows were put in place. On the east side of the nave, the clerestory windows (in the upper portion of the walls of the nave) depict predominately Old Testament figures on the east side of the nave. The windows on the west side present important figures from the history of the Catholic Church. The south clerestory windows include Christ the King, Mary the Mother of God, and St. Augustine. Coasts of arms of the bishops, along with the names of significant saints, are represented in the lower windows of the nave. During the restoration, the sacrament of ordination window was moved to the priest's sacristry. Several of the steps to priesthood windows were removed from that sacristry as well.
Twelve dedication crosses and candles are mounted in various locations around the Cathedral. They are references to the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. They mark the places on the walls that were anointed with sacred chrism during the dedication rite. You might still see the oil mark. The candles, which were lighted during the dedication, are also lighted on the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the cathedral of Rome, as a sign of unity. They are also lighted on major feasts such as Easter, Christmas and for ordinations.
Along the west side ambulatory you will find chapels and devotional settings some of which still waiting to be filled.
There are two reconciliation chapels in the Cathedral. These places were once called confessionals. Each chapel is handicap accessible. The penitent may choose to remain anonymous by sitting or kneeling on one side of the screen. Otherwise, there is also a chair where the penitent may sit with the priest confessor.
The Stations of the Cross adorn the walls of the Cathedral to promote the time honored devotion to the passion and death of Jesus. The way of the cross is a prayer tradition in the Church that dates back to the 13th century. These stations were installed during the most recent renovation of the Cathedral. The first station begins at the north end of this west ambulatory.
In the first alcove the holy oils are reserved in the glass cabinet. Three different oils are used in the celebration of the sacraments of the Church. The Oil of the Sick is used for anointing those who are ill or endanger of death. The Oil of Catechumens is used for adult catechumens and infants in preparation for baptism. The Sacred Chrism is used for post-baptismal anointings, the rites of confirmation, ordination and the dedication of a church and an altar table.
A statue of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and protector of the child Jesus is placed prominently in one of the devotional spaces.
A statue of Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta is a reminder that saintly lives are present in our era of modern times.
A statue of Saint Kateri (right), also known as Lilly of the Mohawks, has a place of honor in the Cathedral. She is a reminder that in our own diocese we have a large population of Native Americans called by the grace of God to lives of holiness. The statue was commissioned to Sr. Margaret Beaudette, a Sister of Charity, who works out of DePaul Studio in Brink, New York. The six-foot figure of Blessed Kateri was cast in bronze and weighs approximately 500 pounds. It stands on a marble pedestal and is enshrined in one of the side chapels surrounded by voitive lights.
A statue of Saint Solanus Casey, a capuchin friar who worked miracles in Wisconsin, celebrates the heroic efforts of individuals who spread the Gospel in this part of our country.
This image of Christ is depicted in many ancient churches throughout the world. It is hand crafted in mozaic tiles and located above the tabernacle in the main apse ceiling of the Cathedral dedicated to Christ the King. As you walk to the center of the Cathedral look north to see the mosaic of the Pantocrator. This Greek word literally means “Creator of All.” This glorious icon occupies a high position in the Cathedral indicating the connection of Christ with the divine realm and humanity as well.
The Processional Cross
A splendid jeweled cross with an image of Christ crucified is used for liturgical processions and prominently located in the sanctuary.
The crucifix that once hung above the cathedral altar is in a side area of the cathedral where it can be venerated. On Good Friday, the cross is brought to the front of the Cathedral.
Four angels are placed on the arches of the sanctuary area. These call to mind the heavenly sentinels that join us in the worship of God.
Beneath the Pantocrator is the Chapel of the Reserved Eucharist. The sacrament is saved after Mass so it may be taken to the sick or dying members of the Church. The area is also used for private prayer and adoration. The sacrament is kept in the tabernacle (a Hebrew word meaning “tent”). The suspended lamp is kept burning constantly to signal the location of the Sacrament. The gates to this Chapel are closed during the liturgy but left open at other times. You are welcome to enter this Chapel to pray. The Blessed Sacrament is enshrined under a wooden canopy thgat was previously over the bishop's chair. The purpose of this ensembe is to foster reverence and devotion for Christ's Eucharistic presence.
Eucharistic Chapel Screen
An elegant 8.5 foot wrought iron screen creates a noble chapel setting for personal prayer, and private adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The screen features a stylized wheat motif and two gates that display images of angels.
The final furnishing in this area is the altar table. Made of Botticino marble this altar table is a symbol of Jesus Christ. It is venerated with a kiss before and after every liturgy. We ask you to be respectful of it by bowing, touching or kissing it if you wish. Nestled in the floor, to the south of the altar table is a special reliquary, which contains the relics of different saints. Relics of the following saints and blessed are contained within the reliquary:
St. Albert O. Carm, St. Aloysius Gonzuga, St. Basil, Martyr*, St. Benedict, Martyr*, St. Benedicti a, S.PH.C.
St. Benardini Senensis, St. Catharinae Laboure, St. Conrad Parzhat, St. Damasci, St. Gemma Gaig St. Gerard Majella, St. Gorge, St. Jacob de Marchia, Japanese Martyrs, St. Joannis Vismey, St. John Neumann, St. Maria Goretti*, St. Marochii, St. Philippi Benitii C. St. Pius X*, St. Salvatoris Ab Hort, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Blessed Marie Rose Durocher
* These relics were initially placed in the altar that was installed in 1954 at the Cathedral
Altar Processional Candles
These tall candles are carried in liturgical processions and placed near the altar.
The ambo (pulpit) from which the scriptures are proclaimed is crafted out of marble to complement the altar and the cathedra. The sacred scriptures are proclaimed from an ambo. The word is derived from the Greek ambein, meaning a place to mount. The large Botticino ambo is located to the west of the cathedra, the bishop's chair. If you look up from the ambo you will see four windows. Each window depicts the traditional symbol for one of the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Sacred Scripture Repository
Much like the Ark which houses the Torah in Jewish synagogues there is a sacred scripture repository mounted on the west wall behind the ambo. In this cabinet are found the different sacred scripture books used during the liturgy
The world "cathedral" is derived from the Greek word cathedra which means chair. The Cathedral is the church which holds the Bishop's chair, the very important symbol of his teaching office. The cathedra is constructed of marble to enhance its continuity with the altar and the ambo. It is the large Botticino marble chair located in the center of the platform (sanctuary) behind the altar table.
This chair is used by the priest celebrant who presides at the liturgy.
These wooden chairs are used by the deacons who minister at the liturgy.
Catholics rightfully see Mary as the Mother of God (God-Bearer). The Mother of the Church and Patroness of the United States. The mozaic of our Lady is placed in the ceiling of the west transept above the new chapel dedicated to her. Theotokos is a Greek word that means “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.” The early Christians gave this title to Mary at the Third Ecumenical Counsel held in Ephesus, Turkey in 431. The theological emphasis at that time was to stress that Jesus was divine and human at the same time.
Augustine of Hippo, a 5th century saint and doctor of the Church is also the patron of the Superior Diocese. A mozaic depicting him is installed in the ceiling of the west transept above the choir area.
The east transept houses the choirs and musicians who lead the assemblies in prayerful song during the liturgies. There are plans for the new pipe organ which will be housed in the galleries above
the east and west transepts.