Palm Sunday Mass at Cathedral at Our Lady of the Angels vs. St. Patrick's Cathedral


A real contrast!

At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC:

At Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in LA:

The most noticeable differences to me was not the building, even though they are quite different – I actually prefer OLA in terms of comfort, sight lines and particularly acoustics. I was most impressed with the Mass at St. Patrick’s in terms of:

  • There weren’t people constantly wandering around behind the altar, going back and forth to the sacristy.

  • The altar servers were clearly far better trained and vested than their counterparts in LA and there was no female altar servers.

  • Communion was under one species which negated the terrible circus (and legion of EMsHC) that takes place in LA just before communion including the hasty (and prohibited) pouring of the Precious Blood from flagons to chalices – something that is painful to watch.

  • 10 ciboria and thus 10 men distributed Holy Communion at St. Pat’s. There were ~25 chalices and maybe a dozen “ciboria” used in LA. That’s 37 vs. 10 for roughly the same sized number of communicants.

  • The use of a bit of Latin – including the Pater Noster at St. Pat’s.

On the other hand:

  • I think ABp. Gomez was more careful/reverent in his celebration of the Mass. Cardinal Dolan almost seemed to be under the weather and/or preoccupied.


Do you really think pitting two major cathedrals against each other is an appropriate way to Mark Holy Week?



I was delighted – and surprised – to hear the St. Patrick’s choir singing the Agnus Dei arranged to the music of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. This beautiful piece begins around 1:01:20 in the video:

I hadn’t known this, but upon looking it up, I discovered that Barber himself wrote this vocal arrangement, roughly 30 years after his composition of the orchestral arrangement.

This music is most appropriate for Palm Sunday and Holy Week.



Another thread destined for trouble. :popcorn:



Compliments for OLA are few and far between on CAF, so I appreciated reading that :grin:. I’ve never been to New York or St. Patrick’s, but I am quite fond of our unique cathedral, even though I’m usually in the minority with that opinion on these forums.



Most critics of OLA have never set foot in the structure, much less attended a major Mass there.

I have long said that many churches/cathedrals do a superb job of giving glory to God through their own physical magnificence and beauty. OLA does it by (in my opinion) being the best “sound stage” there is for celebrating the Mass, where the focus is not on the building, but on the Eucharist.

I would recommend that anyone who can get to the Easter Vigil Mass this Saturday night do so. That’s when OLA really shows its own magnificence.

St. Pat’s is a gorgeous edifice. If I could be guaranteed seats up front, that would be great, otherwise I don’t like experiencing the celebration of the Mass by watching a monitor strapped to a pillar.

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I really like how Cardinal Dolan still uses a chalice pall and he removes/replaces the ciborium lid. Very old school. Show respect for the Most Blessed Sacrament.

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It’s in really poor taste.



At this point I’m just happy neither one of them caught fire and burned to the ground.


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Personally, I enjoy seeing the way the different locations celebrate Mass especially on days like Palm Sunday, Easter and Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.



Really interesting to see the contrast - thank you for sharing.



You bet…

Did you know that OLA is 1’ longer than St. Pat’s? That was on purpose… :wink:

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That is a very fine arrangement & well-placed.



Hmmm… I think your topic is destined for trouble but if you were to ask my opinion I’d go with St. Pat’s rather than OLA, yes given I haven’t even been in both those cathedrals or even set foot on america but just by simply seeing St. Pat’s it reminds me of churches here in my country for some reason.


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