CHF Media and Public Relations contact: Carolyn Will,, 612-414-9661

4th Annual Gala fundraiser set to benefit Historic Saint Paul Cathedral

The Cathedral of Saint Paul is a defining feature of the city’s skyline and is recognized as one of its greatest civic icons. It was recently named one of the Top 10 Cathedrals in America by USA Today and has justifiably earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places. Preservation of this architectural masterpiece, however, requires a steady influx of funds dedicated to its ongoing maintenance and care. To help raise necessary restoration funding, the Cathedral Heritage Foundation will host the Fourth Annual Cathedral Festival of Lights, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, at the Saint Paul Hotel, 350 Market Street in downtown St. Paul.

Click here to







A Great State, A Great City, A Great Church - Photo credit: Doug Ohman

Introducing a new series Voices from the Archives

The monumental structure that changed Saint Anthony Hill to Cathedral Hill reached its highest point on May 18, 1914, 100 hundred years ago this year. Archbishop John Ireland's motto, "A Great State, A Great City, A Great Church," drove the work forward to its completion. On March 28, 1915, the doors opened to the community for the first Mass on Palm Sunday. As we count down to the 100th anniversary, we will be posting

“Voices from the Archives” by Cathedral archivist, Dr. Celeste R. Raspanti. Her stories follow the final year of construction, taken from research of newspapers, memoirs, oral histories and Minutes of the Executive Committee.

(July 15, 2014)   Lessons in Stone

By January 1914, John Garatti and his team of carvers “had already spent nearly four years perched high atop the maze of scaffolding obscuring the front of the edifice. Read more...





(June 6, 2014)   Ireland’s fundraising finesse

As the Cathedral of Saint Paul entered the New Year, 1914, John B. Meagher, Secretary of the Executive Committee, read a summary Treasurer’s report.  Read more…




Photo Highest point constructed on May 18, 1914
Credit: Minnesota Historical Society

(June 5, 2014) The New Cathedral . . . "will involve a great deal of money.”

From the very beginning in 1904, there were no illusions about fundraising for the New Cathedral. Read more…





Archbishop John Ireland and his Executive Building Committee Credit: Cathedral Archives

Good crowds turned out on Saturday, March 29th to hear their piece of the organ SOUND OFF! Listen to a few in the Video Blog and stay tuned for the second organ demonstration following Easter.

Frosty Fun during Red Bull Crashed Ice a success!

We raised $4300 for the Cathedral restoration efforts and made some new friends for the Cathedral landmark. We also received great media coverage during the event on the Cathedral’s hospitality. Read more here 








  A historic night for the Inaugural Organ Concert, Thursday, October 24th

A standing room only audience turned out for Olivier Latry’s performance on the Great Cathedral Pipe Organs We ran out of programs, but we can offer it here.

Success! The Choir of Angels will get their heavenly seating.


No more BYOC: bring your own chair. In the recently renovated gallery choir space, the new “heavenly seating” will accommodates 45 choristers on four levels. The first image is an overhead view, the second is a side view of the seating.

Supporters of the 2013 Cathedral Festival of Lights raised the funds needed to complete the organ restoration project, including the addition of new choir seating.

It’s been a long time in coming! Four years in less than 4 minutes.

Ray Campbell Jr Story. Homecoming at Festival of Lights.

It has been nearly fifty years since Ray Campbell Jr. sang on behalf of the Cathedral of Saint Paul. He sang as a member of the Cathedral Boys Choir during their storied history in the 1960’s and this coming week he perform at a benefit for the Cathedral’s restoration at the 3rd Annual Cathedral Festival of Lights, Friday, October 4th at the Saint Paul Hotel.

Read more... 

Cathedral Boys Choir 1965. Ray Campbell Jr. is in the middle row, 5th from the left.


WCCO-TV’s Frank Vascellaro came by the Cathedral this week to get an update on the organ project from Cathedral musician Sean Vogt. Finishing the organ project is this year’s goal for the CHF Festival of Lights gala.





 See highlights from last year!


Gala fundraiser set to benefit Historic Cathedral of Saint Paul

(Saint Paul, Minn) The Cathedral of Saint Paul is one of the city’s greatest civic icons, and justifiably earning its place on the National Register of Historic Places. Preservation of this monumental masterpiece, however, requires a steady influx of funds dedicated to the ongoing maintenance and care of this grand structure. To help raise necessary restoration funding, the Cathedral Heritage Foundation will host its Third Annual Cathedral Festival of Lights, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 at the Saint Paul Hotel, 350 Market Street in downtown Saint Paul.

Click here to



Well-known Saint Paul philanthropists, Dick and Nancy Nicholson, will serve as this year’s Festival of Lights Honorary Co-Chairs. “We support the Cathedral because we believe in helping the community in which we live. We should all be proud of the Cathedral, and Catholics should not have the sole burden of supporting it,” said Mr. Nicholson, who also sits on the Cathedral Heritage Foundation Board of Curators. “The Cathedral brings us together as a community,” added Mrs. Nicholson, “whether by sound, sight or worship.”  

Two people, well-known for their work in historic preservation, will serve as co-emcees for the evening. Nicole Curtis is the host of HGTV’s top-rated show, Rehab Addict, and one the community’s strongest advocates for saving historic structures.

Duncan Stroik, professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, is the designer of the Cathedral’s newly completed organ casework. Joining them will be Frank Vascellaro, WCCO TV news anchor and celebrity auctioneer for the evening.

 Help Restore and Preserve our National Treasure

$5.3 Million


$14 Million

 $5.3 Million remains of a $35 Million dollar effort on the emergency restoration of the Cathedral’s copper dome and roof in 2000-02. The work was necessary to preserve this Beaux Arts landmark which is still 
the highest point in Saint Paul in more ways than one!

Thank you to all our generous parishioners and community supporters. We have finished the $3.4 million project. The Oct 24th Inaugural Organ Concert, at 7:30 p.m., is a celebration of the restoration of the Great Cathedral Pipe Organs.  SOUND OFF!

$14 Million is needed to repair the interior damage caused by leaks in the dome and roof before the exterior restoration. Not simply aesthetic, the damage affects the stone as well as the ornamental plasterwork of the interior. The mechanical infrastructure of the Cathedral is also overdue for improvement/replacement.

 “There should be no one who, entering the Cathedral, is not able to say…‘it is mine.’”
~ Archbishop John Ireland 1838-1918

Please be generous in helping to preserve the Cathedral of Saint Paul for centuries to come.

Thank you to all who have contributed to our much needed restoration projects at the Cathedral. We are making progress thanks to you!

Tuning of the gallery organ is nearing completion

MPR Reporter Jim Bickal interviews Quimby Pipe Organ CEO/President, Michael Quimby on the final tuning process.

Click here for the story and slideshow at MPR News - 6/28/2013


We are fortunate to have such good neighbors. This past winter, teachers at the Saint Paul College were very enthusiastic about using miscellaneous pieces from the organ project to create fundraising tools for us. Students from a variety of departments, including a Cathedral parishioner, Jay Worner, pooled their talents to build the “Pennies for Pipes,” collection boxes over the winter. During their spring term, students went to work on building a large fundraising gauge to mark our progress on the SOUND OFF! organ campaign. Jay, we hear you were instrumental in building enthusiasm amongst your fellow students. Thank you for the excellent craftsmanship employed on behalf of the organ project.

We also want to extend our thanks to the following instructors at Saint Paul College: Doug DeRosier (Auto Body), Carl Zitzer (Sheet Metal), David Cooper (Pipefitting), and Tom Hillstead (Cabinet Making). In gratitude, the Cathedral Heritage Foundation has sponsored a pipe honoring the Saint Paul College. Thank you all!


June 2013 - Giving voice to new pipes for the Cathedral’s expanded gallery organ

Quimby Head Voicer Eric Johnson voiced the rank of reed pipes (85) that belong to the 32’Contre Bombarde before transport to the Cathedral in late May.  The pipes were too tall to stand up in the shop, so Mr. Johnson voiced the rank of pipes horizontally!



April 2013 - Mary Millette - Why I sponsored a pipe

April 2013 - Retired organist "Sounds Off!" about the Cathedral organs

First Sounding of Cathedral Gallery Organ postponed

(Saint Paul, MN) The first sounding of the Cathedral's restored and enhanced 1963 Æolian-Skinner gallery organ anticipated to be heard at the Easter Vigil, Saturday, March 30th at 8 p.m., has been postponed. The final phase of the comprehensive restoration work on the Cathedral’s gallery organ is still in process. After consulting with Quimby Pipe Organs, the organ builders guiding this restoration, the planned Easter debut of the gallery organ has been delayed until the restored instrument can be experienced in its full glory. The date of the first sounding of the restored Gallery organ will be announced at a later time. “While I understand the disappointment,” said Reverend John Ubel, Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, “believe me, it will all be well worth the wait.”

Click here for the full press release


Video: Cathedral organ restoration nearing completion - Catholic Spirit

Deposit spare change here! These “Pennies for Pipes” collectors will make their debut in the Cathedral this weekend. A big “thank you” goes out to David Cooper, Pipefitting instructor at Saint Paul college, for fashioning these from our old organ pipes. All donations go to the organ project.





Last weekend, the Saint Paul Athletic Club hosted a fundraiser for the Cathedral restoration effort before the Red Bull Crashed Ice event. They raised $2400 from donations made at the outdoor patio event at WA Frost. Thank you SPAC President Stephanie Laitala and staff! Enjoy these event photos.

Rebuilding the Great Cathedral Pipe Organs began today.

Quimby Pipe Organs returned from Warrensburg, Missouri, with two new consoles and the components to build a new wind chest.

Sound Off and sponsor a piece of the organ

Click here for full slide show.

Photo: (Pioneer Press: John Doman)






Cathedral back in the spotlight

One of our Great Cathedral Pipe Organs (filmed last year) plays a supporting role in this promotional video for Red Bull Crashed ice. Enjoy! And watch for fundraising details to finish restoring our historic pipe organs.

Cathedral Restoration Benefit: Before you head to RBCI, stop at Frosty’s Wintergarten on W.A. Frost’s patio at Western & Selby Ave. $30 ticket ($50 for couples) includes a toasty bonfire, themed drinks and appetizers. Sponsored by the Saint Paul Athletic Club.


Cathedral Organ Returns

Street blocked as new consoles unloaded

SOUND OFF! Campaign builds to raise remaining funds 

(Saint Paul, Minn) Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc. of Warrensburg, Missouri, will have Selby Avenue blocked alongside the Cathedral of Saint Paul, at the corners of Summit Avenue and John Ireland Boulevard, starting at 9 a.m. Monday, January 14, 2013 as workers unload the two new organ consoles and mechanical components to install the Cathedral’s fully restored historic E.M. Skinner and Æolian-Skinner pipe organs located in the Cathedral Sanctuary and the choir gallery.

The installation will take nearly three months to complete and will include the Great Organ casework of walnut and gilt, designed by Duncan G. Stroik, a renowned Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, and crafted by Agrell Architectural Carving of San Rafael, California. Agrell’s carvers, under supervision of Master Carver Ian Agrell, have completed other high-profile projects including carving projects at the California State Capitol Building and Governor’s Mansion in Utah, as well as at the House of Commons in London. The first sounding of the Æolian-Skinner Great Pipe Organ will be heard at the Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 30th at 8 p.m.

(click for press release)

Click here to SOUND OFF! and give to the organ restoration project.

Thank you to all our wonderful donors yesterday who gave on GiveMN Day.  We raised an additional  $2885 for the organ restoration project. 

Cathedral Heritage Foundation hosts “Lessons of Love” from
Dr. Robert Fisch Survivor of Nazi concentration camps


Dr. Robert Fisch stands with members of the Cathedral Chamber Orchestra during a reception honoring the retired University of Minnesota pediatrician. From left to right: Tamas Strasser, Brenda Mickens, Dr. Robert Fisch, Michal Sobieski. On Sunday, Oct. 21st, Dr. Fisch gave presented “A Lesson of Love and Humanity,” which told the story of his life of having survived time in a Nazi concentration camp, supporting the rebels of the Hungarian revolution and immigration to the United States where he became an internationally renowned pediatrician. His presentation was supported by his own art work and music performed by the Cathedral Chamber Orchestra.


Cathedral noted in Saint Paul’s ranking as #10 in America's Best Cities

By Alex Konrad | Business Week – Tue, Oct 2, 2012 2:50 PM EDT
St. Paul, Minnesota
Rank: 10
Population: 288,263

St. Paul may be the smaller of the Twin Cities, but the state capital is also cleaner and safer, if slightly behind Minneapolis in median household income. St. Paul, which houses parts of the University of Minnesota campus, is known for its examples of Victorian architecture, such as the Alexander Ramsey House, and for its distinctive Cathedral of Saint Paul.


Second Annual Cathedral Festival of Lights Gala = Success!

Thank you to everyone who helped make the 2nd Annual Cathedral Festival of Lights a success!   People enjoyed seeing the East Rose window lit for the evening as part of the celebration.  Watch this website for more details on when the window will be lit again.

Stanley Hubbard, Honorary Co-Chair of this year’s Cathedral Festival of Light event shared this message with guests.





City Pages IconCathedral arial shot

May 4, 2012
Best Of Award
Best Building - 2012

Cathedral of St. Paul

You don't have to be Catholic, or even religious, to appreciate the Cathedral of St. Paul. The magnificent stone edifice, with its great copper-clad dome, overlooks the city of St. Paul from its perch on Summit Hill with an angelic grace, a testament to, at the very least, human engineering and perseverance. Modeled after the great cathedrals of Europe, it was begun in 1907 but wasn't completed for another 50 years. The true grandeur of the church, however, lies inside its doors. Stepping into the great echoing vault of the main sanctuary, bathed in an ethereal natural light from the vast dome (which rises spectacularly 300 feet overhead), and by the warmth of its remarkable stained glass windows, can be a breathtaking experience. Within this ornate, sacred space, one can sense an unmistakable spiritual presence. Maybe it's God, or maybe just our human yearning for transcendence, but it's a presence worth getting in touch with now and again.

Curators for the Cathedral Heritage Foundation host the American Association of Museums

The AAM gathered in the Twin Cities for their annual meeting in early May. Curators at the Cathedral of Saint Paul gave tours and sponsored a special workshop on “Historical Preservation with Larry Sommers.” This annual meeting is the largest cultural gathering of its kind attracting approximately 5,000 museum professionals from every state and approximately 44 countries. The local host committee used this opportunity to showcase the preeminence, diversity and abundance of Twin Cities’ area cultural organizations.



Float away on sublime orchestral music
during our spring evening

Cathedral Chamber Orchestra
Cathedral of Saint Paul, 239 Selby Ave., Saint Paul
Sunday, April 22, 2012 7 p.m.

Join the Cathedral Chamber Orchestra in its inaugural concert with Michal and Elizabeth Sobieski and Dr. James Callahan. They will present works by Scarlatti, Corelli, Mozart, Sibelius and Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 2. The concert will be held at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, 239 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul, at the corner of Summit Avenue and John Ireland Boulevard.

This concert is a Cathedral Heritage Foundation benefit with a beautiful candle-lit reception following. Enjoy spring and invite your friends and neighbors to attend this evening of amazing orchestral music. Suggested donation: $15

Free parking is available in the Selby parking lot in addition to ample street parking. The venue is also handicapped accessible.

Questions: Call the Welcome Center in the Cathedral at 651-228-1766.


Spring Heritage Series Concerts

To benefit the Cathedral Heritage Foundation

Strings, Pipes, and a Glorious Tenor II Sunday, March 11 2:30 p.m.
Cantor Nicholas Chalmers joins members of the Cathedral Chamber Orchestra and organist Lawrence Lawyer in an afternoon of sublime music featuring the 2007 Bennett & Giuttari portative organ.

Lamentations of Jeremiah Sunday, March 18 2:30 p.m.
The Cathedral Schola Cantorum sings one of the most heart-rending choral music works ever written. The Cathedral Choir and Saint Cecilia Choristers will also perform.

Music in a Grand Space Sunday, March 25 2:30 p.m.
The Choirs of the University of Minnesota present “Music in a Grand Space” featuring choral music especially suited for one of the largest cathedrals in the United States.

Cathedral Chamber Orchestra Sunday, April 22 7:00 p.m.
The inaugural concert of the Cathedral Chamber Orchestra features music of Scarlatti, Corelli, and Handel’s Organ Concerto No. 10, Op. 7, No. 4.

A suggested donation of $15 for each concert will support the Cathedral Heritage Foundation: Inspiring commitment to the Cathedral as a world-class treasure.

Why wait for the reviews? Following the concerts, please join us in the vestibule for conversation and a wine & cheese reception. RSVP by calling 651-357-1325 or

Click here to view the PDF invite.

Thank you to all our volunteers who once again made Cathedral Community & Family Day a great success!

Watch the highlights reel from this year's event.

Thank you Cadiz Studios for this production.


Fifth Annual Cathedral Community & Family Day 

Celebrates art, history & music

The Fifth Annual Cathedral Community & Family Day will host activities throughout this expansive landmark on the hill. The festive free community open house will be Sunday, March 4 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Cathedral of Saint Paul is located at 239 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul, at the corners of Summit Avenue and John Ireland Boulevard. 

Family Day poster


A huge thank you to all the donors who gave so generously on Give to the Max Day and helped the Cathedral Heritage Foundation raise $7,700 dollars on Nov. 16th. The donations will go to support the CHF’s mission to support music, arts & culture as well as the preservation and restoration of this historic landmark.










On the evening of September 23, the Rose Window over the front doors was lit for the first time. The  “Festival of Lights” was the CHF’s inaugural fundraising event to help restore and preserve this world-class treasure in our community.  Read more about the project by clicking here.










Cathedral Treasures Moved to U of M for Safe Keeping

The Cathedral Heritage Foundation received a Cultural Arts & Heritage Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society. It will be used to make the archives more accessible to the public.  The original sketches of the Cathedral’s design by architect Emmanuel Masqueray were picked up earlier this spring from the Cathedral Archives and taken to the University of Minnesota archives for safe, climate-controlled storage. The public can view the originals at the U and digital copies of the sketches may be viewed at the Cathedral.

Fourth Annual Cathedral Family Day highlights art and music

Fourth  Annual Cathedral Family Day on Sunday, March 6, 2011

Costumed tour guides | Pipe Organ demonstrations | MN Children’s Museum Art Projects | Science Experiments

Thank you to all our volunteers and community partners in helping make our 4th Annual Family & Community Day a success:

  • Minnesota Children’s Museum in helping 350 children create framed art pieces
  • Minnesota Science Museum for bringing their exhibit on mummification and ancient rituals of burying the dead
  • St. Joseph’s School of Music students and faculty for their performances on violin, guitar and piano
  • University of St. Thomas retired professor James Callahan for conducting live organ demonstrations
  • College of Visual Arts students for exhibiting their line perspective drawings of the Cathedral’s interior
  • Northern Star Boy Scouts for serving as ushers and greeters
  • And to the many tour guides who delighted visitors with stories about the Cathedral and its history.

"For believers, the Cathedral of St. Paul is a direct link to the origins of Christianity and a reminder of what people of faith can accomplish. For the historical-minded, the Cathedral is a link to the city's pioneer past and to the expansive vision of those first settlers."

Saint Paul Pioneer Press editorial, June 18, 2009