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Mass commemorates Cathedral of the Madeleine's centennial

Mass commemorates the 100th anniversary of edifice's dedication

For the 100th time, an audience gathered in the Cathedral of the Madeleine to observe the feast day of the assumption of Mary into heaven.

It was exactly a century ago on Saturday when the cathedral was dedicated to the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Priests, deacons, bishops and members of the clergy marched through the nave in their regalia at the start of Mass while the audience of 1,000 joined together, like one singing body.

They sang for the mother of Christ, sonorously and devoutly: "Mary has been taken up to heaven."

"If you listen closely enough you may hear the echoes of those bishops and congregations before us," the Most Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City, told the congregation.

The Mass on Saturday marked the culmination of more than a year of planning and a week of services celebrating the cathedral's centennial.

Speakers remarked on the growth of the diocese and the church's humanitarian work, such as its program to help resettle refugees in communities throughout the world, including Salt Lake City.

Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the highest-ranking American ever to serve at the Vatican, was the homilist.

Cardinal Levada serves as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith — a position Pope Benedict XVI held before he was selected to lead the church. As the man responsible for the doctrine of the church worldwide, Cardinal Levada's presence Saturday was profound to members of the diocese.

Cardinal Levada used the homily to preach the doctrine of the Mass Saturday and caution parishioners of the presence of evil that abounds.

He also took time to remark on the recent aesthetic improvements at the cathedral, which was restored in the early 1990s.

"It is nothing less than the sign of the beauty of the New Jerusalem," he said.

e-mail: mgonda@desnews.com