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Photo gallery from the 2021 Festival of Lights & other highlights

We received a great honor in hosting the United Kingdom’s Luxmuralis’ stunning light and sound installations for the second year.  And this time, we added an interior show.  More than 6,000 patrons came over the four evenings to see The Beginning, Starry Night and to visit our first-ever Cathedral Christmas Market.

Outside, we displayed a radiant show by Peter Walker. “The Beginning” shares the Nativity story using masterpieces from great artisans. The luminous imagery moves to the heart-soaring music compositions of David Harper.  To add a local flavor, Peter included two images from our Cathedral of Saint Paul’s artwork, the gold Byzantine-style mosaic of the Madonna and Child produced by the Vatican Studios, and the closing stained-glass window of the Holy Family created by Charles Connick. We added higher-powered projectors this year to add density and brilliance to the colors displayed on the Cathedral’s 150-foot eastern façade. One comment we heard and liked: “Extraordinary!”

Inside, we invited patrons into the immersive art installation, Starry Night.  A celestial scene of blues, purples, pink and gold washed over the ceiling, interior domes, archways, and walls.  The accompanying music would have you believing there was a choir of angels singing from on high. People called it mesmerizing, cathartic, and likened it to the gateway to heaven.  Visitors also enjoyed walking through the Shrines of Nations, the series of chapels devoted to the early immigrants’ homelands and patron saints, and the creche scene set in the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel.

Taking a stroll into the Cathedral courtyard along Dayton Avenue conjured up images of the European Christmas Markets.  One family whose matriarch immigrated from Poland, took on creating this magical experience.  We applaud the Kuhrmeyer family which includes Paul, Ursula, Andrew, Christopher, and Hans! And we shower them with thanks from a deep well of gratitude.  From the beautifully lit evergreens and crabapple trees to the festive red and white vendor marketplace, the mood was festive!  Friends and families warmed themselves around the fires, and enjoyed hot beverages, and food from a variety of food trucks including German pretzels, Korean food, Philly Cheesesteaks, and tacos. A special allure came from the lit sacristy stained-glass windows facing the courtyard. These drew people to the smaller courtyard centered by the original bronze cross from the very top of the Cathedral’s dome and the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  And through the evenings, costumed high school madrigal singers from River Falls, Wisconsin serenaded our guests with Christmas carols. 

We also want to thank the Twin Cities reporters and writers who helped us spread the news!

We hope you will all return next year!