second is the sense of JOURNEY which
describes our evolving relationship
with God. We are on the journey, alone
and together as the People of God,
on pilgrimage, towards redemption in
our lives. Therefore, as we walk away
from the darkness of evil, we move
towards the saving Light of Christ
and the fullness of the Kingdom of
God in Heaven.
Gospel (John 8:12) captures these fundamental
spoke to them again, saying 'I am the
light of the world. Whoever follows
me will not walk in darkness, but will
have the light of life.'"
by the themes of LIGHT and JOURNEY,
architect Professor José
Rafael Moneo chose natural light to flood
the Cathedral. Sunlight streams through
glass-sheltered, Spanish alabaster mosaics,
combining the opaque white of alabaster
with its various hues of earth tones
-- red, yellow, brown, orange and rust.
Light also enters the Cathedral and devotional
chapels by way of large, slanted shafts,
reminiscent of those used by the early
Franciscans when they designed the California
Cathedral features the largest single
use of alabaster windows in the world--some
33,500 square feet. This powerful natural
light emphasizes the purity and beauty
of God's creation.
Cathedral's interior design captures
the principle of a spiritual journey.
Unlike most Cathedrals, we are not
entering through a rear door near the
last pews. Rather, we enter the ambulatory
which circles the interior of the Cathedral.
ambulatory urges us forward, on a slight
incline, heightening our sense of an
upward journey, past various devotional
chapels that open onto the walkway,
not onto the Cathedral's worship space,
allowing a more meditative environment
for devotional prayer.
light and diversity of shapes draws
people forward along the ambulatory
and around the corner to the Baptistery
and the enormous public worship space.
journey brings people to the light
of the nave and the place of Baptism,
the entry into the life of Christ and
His Church. The font is designed to
accommodate Baptism by immersion. The
steps lead from the far side down into
the immersion pool. People descend
with sinfulness into the waters of
Baptism and are freed from sin through
the power of Jesus Christ.
Baptized person emerges onto the nave
side where the People of God are assembled
and makes the journey forward to the
Altar to share in the Eucharistic Presence
of the Risen Lord.
red carnelian granite fonts on each
corner of the immersion pool have a
continuous flow of living water, holy
water for blessings, and a reminder
for all of their Baptism.
Cathedral's 300 foot nave is the place
for the gathering of the faithful.
Fixed seating allows for 1,900 people
and an additional 1,100 in moveable
seating, for a total of 3,000 people.
its design, the nave encourages the
full and active participation of all
people in the Liturgy. No pillars block
vision because nine steel trusses and
the chapel structures on each side
support the soaring, cedar wood ceiling.
The dynamic effect results from Moneo's
design that avoids right angles and
traditional style, the Cathedral faces
east, the direction of Jerusalem, the
holy city, and the rising sun. Morning
sun enters the Cathedral through the
great alabaster windows and continues
through the day, bringing a constantly
changing texture of light.
above the Altar is a laminated plaque
placed on the underside of the cedar
panels by the workers who built the
ceiling. It contains several Scripture
"As the sparrow finds a home and
the swallow a nest to settle her young,
my home is by your altars, Lord of hosts,
my king and my God!"
the workers signed it
"to honor the Lord and to acknowledge
the privilege we have felt working on
Just imagine future workers repairing
the ceiling and finding this plaque from
the right of the altar on the wall
is the grand pipe organ, rising 85
feet and stretching 28 feet across
at its widest point. It is encased
in unusual and precious cherry wood,
used for the pews and other structural
woodwork in the Cathedral. The choir
space is under the organ, positioned
so as not to distract from the liturgy,
but to aid the assembly in singing
the left of the altar, high on the
wall, is a huge architectural cross.
Light pours through alabaster into
the church along the slanted crossbeam.
The cross is the emblem of Christ,
"the Light of the world."
place behind and to the left of the
Altar is the Presbyterium, where the
priests gather around the Bishop to
concelebrate the Liturgy. It can hold
vast space also accommodates many risers
allowing choral groups to perform.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, Philharmonic
and others will perform sacred concerts
in the Cathedral.
transepts on either side of the Sanctuary
allow the assembly to gather around
the altar. This cruciform structure
is traditional in Catholic churches
and represents the cross on which Jesus
thousand Spanish, Jana limestone stones
pave the Cathedral floor in a circular
pattern emanating from the Altar, providing
a visual reminder that the celebration
of the Eucharist is at the center of
our faith. Each stone was purchased
by donations from individuals and families
in honor of their loved ones. Donors,
honorees and memorials are eternally
remembered and displayed in a special
hand-inscribed Archival Register. A
computerized display is also available
to direct donors, honorees and visitors
to the location of the designated paving
stones. Some stones are still available
for memorial giving.
Cathedral enjoys some interesting comparisons
with other Cathedrals.
is 1000 feet smaller than Notre Dame
----It is 21 feet higher than the Washington
----It is 32,000 square feet larger than
San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.
----It is one foot longer than St. Patrick's
in New York. This was not true in the
original plans, but topping New York
by one foot was too much fun to avoid,
a little inside joke even amongst the