Tour offers inside look at cathedral — and light show to boot

BOSTON — Back halls, inner rooms, and mysterious beams of light cascading through cathedral windows.


It may sound like a setting from Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” but this story is non-fiction.

On July 29 at 6:30 p.m., the public is invited to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to “glorify further a building made in honor of Him who made us to know, honor and serve Him,” according to the cathedral’s weekly Mass bulletin.

On that evening, as the sun’s rays strike the cathedral’s round rose window that depicts King David sitting in royal red robes surrounded by red and gold stained glass, the light travels in an intriguing manner.

This is a phenomenon that occurs “as accurately as an Atom clock,” according to Edward H. Furey, president of the Keely Society, coordinator for the event.

“In July of each year the sun reaches high in the western sky over Boston,” explained Furey, “the rays strike the facade and glass of this archdiocesan treasure, and a rose hue slowly envelops the northern side of the organ gallery. As the sun progresses northward, the color moves slowly along the northern interior nave and pillars. Soon a rose brilliance emerges across the altar and figure of St. Joseph. Within a short time the magenta rose flows across to the main altar where, from the base to its soaring gothic pinnacles, the white marble is bathed in an aura of warm, glowing, rose miracle.”

“Shortly, the light vanishes and leaves the cathedral in a deeper twilight of quiet stillness,” he continued. “The solar phenomenon has concluded its show.”

After the natural light show has concluded, Furey will lead the public on a tour of the cathedral that will start in the main nave of the cathedral “but will take us to the chapels, crypt, galleries and towers,” he said.

Light refreshments will be served immediately following the tour.

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross was dedicated in 1875 by Archbishop John J. Williams. The cathedral was designed by renowned architect Patrick C. Keely, who designed over 20 cathedrals including those in Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Hartford, and Newark.