The World in Miniature
A theater represents the world in miniature. In the Renaissance age, the theater was a classroom; a place to learn and be ennobled. It conveyed a sense of wholeness, and a place of possibility for the future.
Cardinal Dolan has often been quoted as calling St. Patrick’s cathedral “America’s parish church.” New York is America’s most populous, most linguistically diverse city. If St. Patrick’s cathedral represents NYC, it could also be said that NYC represents America.
The many arches of St. Patrick’s cathedral are notably concave, communicating a sense of invitation to come inside. It was intended to convey a sense of being “home” to immigrants arriving not only to this parish but to America. It is a landmark for many of New York’s nationally known ethnic parades, such as Saint Patrick’s Day. The Cathedral's recent history was inseparable from a day of national tragedy in America, September 11, 2001. That day, St. Patrick’s cathedral was a place of refuge for the sorrowful, with the cathedral packed and people overflowing out onto the streets. It has continues to be a gathering place where 9/11 is remembered for its local impact with ripples felt around the globe, especially around its anniversary.
The cathedral also continues to be a destination for pilgrims, drawing five million visitors and tourists a year. Most recently, the cathedral underwent a very extensive, three-year renovation. It’s completion in the fall of 2015 coincided with a visit from Pope Francis commencing the Jubilee Year of Mercy. St. Patrick's cathedral has hosted more papal visits (five) than any other church outside Rome. The brand new restoration aims to continue extending that same spirit of multicultural collaboration, permanence, and fortitude to future generations of New Yorkers and pilgrims alike.
One interesting aspect of this Jubilee year was the opening of Holy Doors at St. Patrick’s cathedral and many other churches throughout the world. The Holy Doors are highly symbolic, representing a threshold where pilgrims may leave behind the temporal world to enter the presence of God. The opening of a portal that is normally closed is said to represent abundant mercy, and serves to remind pilgrims to open the interior doors of their heart to God.
West, Melanie Grace. “Repairs Almost Done, St. Patrick’s Cathedral Is Set to Shine.” The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved on 26 April 2016. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/repairs-almost-done-st-patricks-cathedral-is-set-to-shine-1436752590>
“Transcript: Pope Francis’s comments at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.” The Washington Post. Retrieved on 26 April 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/transcript-pope-franciss-comments-at-st-patricks-cathedral/2015/09/24/eaba43c0-6311-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html>
Desmond, Joan Frawley. “Cardinal Egan Remembers 9/11.” National Catholic Register. Retrieved on 26 April 2016. <http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/cardinal-egan-remembers-9-11/>
“What is a Holy Door?” Archdiocese of Detroit. Retrieved on 26 April 2016. <https://aod.app.box.com/s/qyg3nk45n9qobthipi3ihbbd13ny3mqm>
“The restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.” CBS News Sunday Morning. September 27, 2015. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-restoration-of-st-patricks-cathedral/>