The beauty of the cathedral has been enhanced by the use of marble. Over twelve varieties of marble from around the world can be studied in the Cathedral!
Marble is a term applied to calcite or dolomite rock which in centuries past has been so hardened by heat and pressure that it can take high polish. Pure marble is always white. Colors in marble are caused by other minerals and staining matters mixed in the calcite or dolomite. Black marble results when bituminous matter mixes with the rock.
It is only fitting that a cathedral built in Spanish Renaissance architecture contain some marble from Spain. The walls in the sanctuary, behind the high altar, are lined with Rajo Alicante marble from Spain. This rich red Spanish marble blends well with the warm browns of the wood below and creates a proper setting for the gleaming white high altar, which is the focal point of the cathedral and of worship at all times.
Marble is very expensive due to breakage in the quarries and to the cost of transporting this heavy material. However, transported from Pietrasanti, Italy, to Omaha was the massive canopied high altar made from marble of Carrara, Italy. This white marble was also a favorite of Michelangelo and was used on his famous "Pieta."
The communion rail is also in Danby Cloud white marble.
The walls of the cathedral are lined with pink-buff Kasota dolomite marble from Minnesota.
The base of the nave and ambulatories is Verde Antique (green) marble from Vermont.
The floors are of Danby Cloud white marble from Vermont, with insets of Napoleon gray marble from Missouri.
The steps leading from each side aisle to the sanctuary are greenstone marble from Virginia.
Marbles of Italy can be found in the Our Lady of Nebraska chapel.
The statue of "Our Lady of Nebraska" in the chapel was executed in Carrara marble.
Bottincino marble was used for the altar.
Red Levanto marble was used for the candle ledge and the base for the statue.
The base of the walls in Our Lady of Nebraska chapel is Belgian black marble.
More marbles of Italy can be found in the Nash chapel.
Pavonazza marble was used for the altar in the Nash chapel.
Rosare marble was used for the votive stand for the Saint Joseph's shrine while the reredos (wall behind) is in Verde Issorie marble.
The black and gold marble used in the Shrine of Christ the King also comes from Italy.
~ Saint Cecilia's Cathedral, 1981