Art: Angel Dedication Holders

The twelve bronze Dedication Candle Holders in the nave of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels were designed and fabricated by sculptor Max DeMoss. Each candle holder is buttressed on the walls by a magnificent bronze and silver angel. They biblically refer to the twelve tribes of Israel and to the twelve Apostles.

A Cathedral tradition in the Catholic Church, the candles are lighted for the first time during the liturgy of the Dedication of the Cathedral and on each anniversary thereafter. They also are lighted on the anniversary of Rome's Cathedral of St. John Lateran, which is the Pope's Cathedral and where he speaks "ex cathedra."

In order to contrast with and complement the angular and linear architecture, DeMoss designed the angel candle holders to convey organic, human, whimsical qualities. Each angel has unique characteristics and gestures.

DeMoss' inspiration for each angel came from informal interviews about angels with twelve people of significance in his life, including family members, friends and neighbors. During each hour-long conversation, DeMoss listened to their thoughts about angels and watched their general gestures as they spoke.

"At one point it would just click," DeMoss remembers. Within forty-eight hours, "I created a figure in the gesture inspired by the interview." The angels do not look like the people, "but the gestures and personalities are definitely the gestures and personalities of the people that I interviewed."

DeMoss also consulted his four grandsons, ages 4-8, before designing the angels. Their ideas are incorporated: the angel's toes are pointing down as if in flight, their hair is flowing, and they glow. Their arms reach out to the viewer.

The artist wanted the "angels' gestures to be welcoming, to greet the viewer." As people enter the nave they see one angel, another, and another, until there is an "'Aha!,' or sudden awareness that there are more angels propelling them onward through the Cathedral."

DeMoss would like for people to see the angels "as beings of light and not birds or butterflies." For him, the reason for the wings is to reflect light because he does not believe "angels would need wings to fly."

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