Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception – Kansas City, MO

Date of Review: I attended the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Vigil Mass at 515pm on December 31, 2020. Fr. Paul Turner presided, assisted by Deacon Jim Olshefski.

Architecture: Baroque revival style cathedral with the cornerstone laid in 1882, and the first mass said in the partially completed cathedral in 1883. The stained glass windows were installed in 1912, and two renovations were done in 1955 and 2002-2003. The original dome was replaced in 1960 by a new dome, cupola, and cross covered in 23-carat gold leaf.

Celebrant(s): Fr. Turner presided, and Deacon Olshefski proclaimed the Gospel. Fr. Turner’s homily focused on the naming of Jesus. Jesus, in Hebrew, is a variant of the name Joshua, which means “savior” or “God saves.” As fallen individuals (which all humans are), we need God (personified by Jesus) to save us.

Congregation: Reasonable but not great attendance. Since this is my current home parish, I can evaluate the attendance as fairly similar to a normal Sunday mass.

Decor: The interior is fairly simple, with the tabernacle on the right side of the Cathedral. During the most recent renovation, the sanctuary was pulled forward from an original position closer to the back of the church as was common in Pre-Vatican II designs.

Location: Downtown Kansas City, on the edge of the business district in the Quality Hill Neighborhood, which is a residential area. Perfectly situated to be downtown without feeling like it’s trapped between office buildings.

Musicians: Cantor and organist were good, but nothing remarkable.

Volunteers: There were greeters (including a sign-in greeter who ensured you’d either signed up beforehand online or asked you to write down your name and number for COVID-19 tracing), and ushers during the service.

Overall: The gold dome is a nice touch from an exterior perspective, and this cathedral was well placed in downtown Kansas City, unlike the original cathedral across the state in St. Louis. While I like it, and am partial to it given it’s my home parish, it isn’t altogether that remarkable. It could be visited in a pairing with the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kansas, a few miles away.


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