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Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

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Title: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Downtown Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, James Francis McIntyre, Oscar A. Solis
Collection: 2000S Architecture in the United States, 2002 Establishments in California, 21St-Century Roman Catholic Church Buildings, Brutalist Architecture in the United States, Buildings and Structures in Downtown Los Angeles, Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, Churches in Los Angeles, California, Downtown Los Angeles, Landmarks in Los Angeles, California, Mausoleums in the United States, Ove Arup Buildings and Structures, Postmodern Architecture in California, Rafael Moneo Buildings, Religious Buildings Completed in 2002, Religious Organizations Established in 2002, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Roman Catholic Cathedrals in the United States, Roman Catholic Churches Completed in 2002, Roman Catholic Churches in California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Cathedral of
Our Lady of the Angels
Location 555 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, California
Country United States
Denomination Roman Catholic
Founded 2002
Architect(s) Rafael Moneo
Style Postmodern architecture; deconstructivist elements
Completed 2002
Construction cost $250M
Capacity 3,000 people
Length 333 feet (101 m)
Diocese Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Archbishop Most Rev. José Horacio Gómez
Rector Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, informally known as COLA or the Los Angeles Cathedral, is a Latin Church cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles, California, United States of America. Opened in 2002, the cathedral serves as the mother church for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.[1] It is also the cathedra seat of Archbishop José Horacio Gómez.[2]

The structure replaced the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, which was severely damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Under Cardinal Roger Mahony, the cathedral was constructed in post-modern architecture and formally opened in September 2002. There was considerable controversy over its deconstructivist and modernist design, as well as the high costs to complete the building.[3]

The cathedral is named in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the patronal title of Our Lady of the Angels, echoing the full name of the original settlement of Los Angeles (Spanish: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles, or "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels").[4] The cathedral is widely known for enshrining the relics of Saint Vibiana and tilma piece of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is the mother church to approximately five million professed Catholics in the archdiocese.[5]


  • Design 1
  • History 2
  • Criticism 3
  • Mausoleum 4
    • List of people buried at the Cathedral 4.1
      • Clergy 4.1.1
      • Laity 4.1.2
  • Events 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8
  • Further reading 9


The cathedral was designed by the

  • Bühren, Ralf van: Kunst und Kirche im 20. Jahrhundert. Die Rezeption des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils, Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh 2008, pp. 609–610, ill. 85-87 (ISBN 978-3-506-76388-4)

Further reading

  • Official Cathedral Site
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles Official Site
  • Cathedrals of California
  • Photo gallery on Figure Ground
  • Documentary film about John Nava's tapestries

External links

  1. ^ a b "About: History". Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  2. ^ "Archbishop José Horacio Gómez Velasco".  
  3. ^
  4. ^ The Franciscan friars who founded the pueblo town named it for Santa Maria degli Angeli (Italian for "St. Mary of the Angels"), the locality within Assissi where St. Francis began his movement on a "little portion of land" called the Porziuncola.
  5. ^ "Welcome". Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  6. ^ "About: Architect". Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  7. ^ "About the Organ". Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  8. ^ a b "Cathedral of Our Lady of Angles". Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  9. ^ a b "About: History". Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Richard S. Vosko: Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels retrieved May 23, 2011
  11. ^ "$2.5 Million Given for Fountain at New Cathedral". Los Angeles Times ( 15 November 2001. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  12. ^ ISBN 0-9678477-6-1."Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,"Weber, Msgr. Francis J. . Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  13. ^ Haslam, Chris (Feb 24, 2008). "Art attack in LA". Sunday Times (London (UK)). p. 4. 
  14. ^ Ordonez, Jennifer (Apr 10, 2006). "The Catholics: A Cardinal's Campaign; Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles is speaking out against crackdowns on illegals. How far will his voice carry?". Newsweek 147 (16). p. 38. 
  15. ^ "Mausoleum: About". Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  16. ^ Larry B. Stammer (16 March 2001). "The Lady Appears". Los Angeles Times ( Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  17. ^ "Mausoleum: Stained Glass Windows". Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  18. ^ "Find A Grave: Gregory Peck". Retrieved 2006-09-21. 
  19. ^ "Organ Recital at the Cathedral". Retrieved 9 September 2014. 


See also

Every Wednesday afternoon, the cathedral holds an organ recital. It is free and open to the public.[19]

On September 3, 2011, the Cathedral played host to a Queen of Angels Foundation, an association of lay Catholic faithful dedicated to promoting devotion to Our Lady, Queen of Angels. The Procession and Mass saw the participation of over 50 Catholic communities from across Southern California, including Knights of Malta, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Knights of Columbus, Knights of Peter Claver, and many others. The Grand Marian Procession and Mass, which is intended to be an annual event, follows in the tradition of the Marian processions that were once a regular feature of Los Angeles' civic and religious life. The Mass was celebrated by the Cathedral's rector, Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik. Since 2011 the Queen of Angels Foundation has sponsored the annual Marian processions, Votive Masses, and fiestas in commemoration of Los Angeles’ birthday and the feast of Our Lady of the Angels. Archbishop Gomez has been the homilist and principal celebrant of the annual Mass since 2012. Future Grand Marian Processions and Masses will coincide with the City of Los Angeles’ official birthday celebrations on the last Saturday of August.

2012 Grand Marian Procession through Downtown Los Angeles




List of people buried at the Cathedral

The cathedral as pictured in its post-modern design on the corner of Grand Ave & Temple Street.

The crypt mausoleum features a number of stained glass windows that were originally installed in Saint Vibiana's Cathedral. This idea was suggested by Mario Agustin Locsin, a renowned Liturgical Artist. Mario Locsin was one of the liturgical consultants of the renovation.  Two new windows featuring guardian angels were placed at the entrance to the crypt mausoleum. The old cathedral windows were restored and new windows created by The Judson Studios.[17]

All past ordinaries of the archdiocese are memorialized in the mausoleum, including a future burial site for Cardinal Roger Mahony, and the remains of several ordinaries and auxiliary bishops who died before the cathedral was built were transferred there.[16] The tomb of Saint Vibiana was transferred to the cathedral from its previous location above the altar at the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana; the tomb is the centerpiece of the St. Vibiana Chapel located adjacent to the mausoleum.

The final resting place of actor Gregory Peck in the Cathedral's Crypt Mausoleum.

The cathedral features a mausoleum in its lower level. The mausoleum contains 1,270 crypts and 4,746 columbarium niches for burials. Proceeds from the sale of memorials and burial spaces are placed in an endowment fund for financial stability of the cathedral.[15]


The prices for some cathedral furnishings have also caused consternation. $5 million was budgeted for the altar, the main bronze doors cost $3 million, $2 million was budgeted for the wooden ambo (lectern) and $1 million for the tabernacle. $1 million was budgeted for the cathedra (bishop's chair), $250,000 for the presider's chair, $250,000 for each deacon's chair, and $150,000 for each visiting bishops' chair, while pews cost an average of $50,000 each. The cantor's stand cost $100,000 while each bronze chandelier/speaker cost $150,000.[12] The great costs incurred in its construction and Mahony's long efforts to get it built led critics to dub it the "Taj Mahony"[13] and the "Rog Mahal".[14]

Cardinal Roger Mahony's decision to rebuild the Los Angeles Cathedral in such elaborate and post-modern architecture has drawn great criticism. Many argued that a church of that size and expense was unnecessary, overly-elaborate and money could have been better spent on social programs.[11] Many felt that either St. Vincent Church on West Adams Boulevard or St. Basil Church on South Kingsley Drive could easily perform the functions required of a cathedral with minimal additional cost. Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral was also criticized for its departure from historical California Mission-style architecture and aesthetics.


This legal battle prompted the archdiocese to look to build the cathedral on a new site. In December 1996, the archdiocese announced it was purchasing a 5.6-acre (2.3 ha) site between Temple Street and the Hollywood Freeway from Los Angeles County at a cost of $10.85 million.[9] The archdiocese chose to retain the "Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels" name approved by the Vatican in the 1940s. The initially proposed budget for the project was $150 million, but as the charities and donations kept coming, the architects and builders were able to implement everything desired. The construction was supervised by Father Richard S. Vosko, a liturgical design consultant and priest of the Diocese of Albany who has overseen the design and renovation of numerous churches and cathedrals around the country.[10] Construction began in 1998 and the cathedral was opened in September 2002 at the final cost of $189.7 million. Meanwhile, the old cathedral was eventually restored by developers Tom Gilmore and Richard Weintraub, who spent around $6 million converting it into an events center and performance venue.

The 1994 Northridge earthquake severely damaged the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, which led the archdiocese to close the cathedral due to safety concerns. In January 1995 the archdiocese announced plans to build a new cathedral on the Saint Vibiana site, plans which necessitated the demolition of the old cathedral. This led to a lengthy legal battle between the archdiocese and preservationists, who argued that the cathedral was a city landmark and that it should be either incorporated into the new cathedral or otherwise saved. The archdiocese contended that restoring the old cathedral would cost $18–20 million, an amount that it contends no one would donate.[9]

The Cathedral of Saint Vibiana had served as the cathedral of the Los Angeles see since its completion in 1876. Soon after its completion, the diocese noted it to be of inferior construction quality and also too small for Los Angeles' rapidly growing population. In 1904, Bishop Thomas James Conaty gained permission from the Holy See to build a new cathedral to be named after Our Lady of Guadalupe and purchased a site on which to build the cathedral. However, an economic downturn in 1907 put a stop to the project; a Catholic parish church was later built on the site. In the 1940s, plans were drawn up for a new cathedral on Wilshire Boulevard that would seat 3,000 people, and in 1945 Archbishop John Joseph Cantwell announced that the Holy See approved the name "Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels". That cathedral was never built, however, as Cantwell died in 1947 and his successor, James Francis McIntyre, decided that building churches and schools was a more pressing need for the archdiocese. McIntyre gained permission from donors to redirect money donated to Cantwell's cathedral fund to fund construction of churches and schools.

The cathedral houses an original relic piece taken from the Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The interior of the cathedral


In addition to the church, the cathedral grounds also include a mausoleum, gift shop, cafeteria, conference center, and clergy residences. The relics of Saint Vibiana are interred in the mausoleum, as are the remains of several past bishops, archbishops, and auxiliary bishops of Los Angeles.


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