The Nash Chapel is a quiet jewel, the only private mortuary chapel within the Cathedral. The small, square space is bathed with light from two stained-glass lunettes, east and west. The castilian red panes are decorated with rosettes. Overhead, the groin-vaulted ceiling is encrusted with mosaic arabesques in black and gold as is the apsidial dome. In the ceiling's center hangs a crystal chandelier from the Nash home. On either side of the Pavonazza marble altar are statues of Mary of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph with the Christ Child, cared in wood by Polasek. The chapel also houses a painting The Virgin Immaculata which is part of the Spanish Colonial Art Collection. Below the floor are the burial vaults faced with stone and bronze and reached by the private stairway to the right of the chapel.
Above the entrance to the Nash Chapel is the painting of an Italian Vincentian, Venerable Felix de Andreis. He was born in 1778 in the small Italian town of Demonte. Fr. Andreis was blessed with extraordinary intellectual gifts. After his ordination and studies in theology, his brilliance was so evident, he was immediately appointed a professor in the same institution where he had studied. His reputation also reached the attention of Pope Pius VII. Fr. Andreis, however; wished only for obscurity. His dream of mission service was fulfilled when he was appointed to the Diocese of Louisiana in 1815. He labored untiringly at the task of training seminarians. He died in 1820. In 1918 Pope Benedict XV introduced his case for beatification.
Located in the Nash Chapel alcove, from the Cathedral Art Collection, are two paintings by Brother William Woeger, F.S.C. Christ of the Gospel (2000), in the style of a Byzantine icon; and Saint Cecilia (2002). The latter was commissioned by The Saint Cecilia Schola Cantorum.
Our Lady of Nebraska Chapel
Our Lady of Nebraska Chapel opens off the North Entrance of the Cathedral. In the gentle curve of the apse above a marble altar stands the Madonna of Corn. In her graceful hands, she holds a stalk and ear of corn, symbolic of her solicitude for the material as well as the spiritual well-being of the faithful of the state. The backdrop is a celestial garden painted in buon secco of night blue, rose, and gold stars. The statue was carved of Carrara marble by Arthur E. Lorenzani from a full-size plaster model created by Polasek.
The organ in the loft was built by Bedient Pipe Organ Company and installed in 1998. It is dedicated to the memory of Robert G. Miller, cantor and organist at the Cathedral. Horizontally mounted Dulcaina pipes, characteristic of Spanish organs in the seventeenth century, are a distinctive feature of this organ.
The small chapel is softly lit by north light filtered through three sixteenth-century stained glass windows, originally in the Cathedral of Pamplona, Spain. Saint Christopher, whose name means Christbearer, lifts the child Jesus onto his shoulder. Saint Mary Magdalene carries the jar of ointment with which she anointed the feet of Christ. Saint Barbara holds her tower prison and martyr's palm.
On the north side of the Cathedral, through bronze balusters, one can see the baptism font at the far end of the baptistry, two steps below the floor level. Light from the two stained glass windows glints on the bronze figures of John the Baptist with the young Christ crowning the font cover. Colored marble intricately encircles the white Carrara basin. The barrel-vaulted ceiling of the baptistry is filled with symbolic ornament ornately painted in fresco al secco. Since Vatican II, and the advent of face-to-face confession, the room has been serving a dual role--that of reconciliation room and baptistry.
~The Beauty of Thy House, 2005