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GALA RALLIES SUPPORT FOR CATHEDRAL

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The windows are dim, clouded with a coating of dust accumulated over the years. Ornate wood trimmings and panels are cracked, ravaged by moisture and the expansion and contraction caused by Utah's seasonal climate changes. Wall coverings are soiled, and once brilliant murals are dulled by the grime of pollution.

A Utah "treasure" is feeling the pangs of age, some 90 years of coping with fickle weather extremes, polluted air and simple wear and tear.It's time for friends to rally and help this aging and historic figure. The Cathedral of the Madeleine needs Utahns.

A gala reception Wednesday night, hosted by the Most Rev. William K. Weigand and attended by a wide assortment of civic and church leaders, kicked off a $6.3 million fund-raising effort that will finance interior restoration of the majestic building at 331 E. South Temple.

Among those attending the reception were Presidents Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson, counselors in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Gov. Norm Bangerter; and Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis.

"This diverse gathering gives historic evidence that all segments of the community can come together," said the Rev. Weigand, bishop of the Roman Catholic Salt Lake Diocese which owns the cathedral.

The Rev. Weigand told the gathering that corporate donations already received currently total $3.9 million. He said the project committee hopes to have the $6.3 million gathered by the end of the year so that work on the project can begin early in 1990.

The Rev. Weigand said the gala was a clear indication that the cathedral is important to more than just the Roman Catholics who worship there. While the 20,000 Catholic families in Utah will be asked to support the project financially, Weigand said donations from all Utahns are welcome.

The actual cost of renovation is estimated at $5.3 million. The additional $1 million will fund an endowment to be used to maintain the structure in the future.

Ground was broken for the cathedral on July 4, 1899, and the cornerstone laid on July 22, 1900. Construction was completed nine years later. In 1915, a renovation of the cathedral's interior was started. That project was completed in 1926. Little has changed inside the church since then.

In 1974, the cathedral underwent a $1 million renovation of the exterior which included a new roof. That project took five years to complete.

A study completed last year indicates the interior urgently needs of a facelift and electrical, plumbing, climate control, systems need to be improved.

The project will include a new organ and reconfiguration of altar, baptistery, confessionals and altar rail to conform to post-Vatican II guidelines.