The Cathedral's Main Facade
Drawing you in!
Just as a book cover is designed to intrigue and interest, the main facade of a building is meant to entice. The attention to detail by architect Kimball helps this "cover" invite you in to the beauty that is inside.
The huge bronze doors of the triple portal are framed in a Tuscan order with paired columns. The vertical elements of this classic base are carried upward to the three arched windows in contrasting rusticated pilasters, which recalls in design, the delicate craftsmanship of fine silversmiths. The great bronze doors were cast from original designs of the architect. Thomas Kimball. The casting of the doors was done in Boston, Massachusetts. They are marked by an absence of low relief work often found in bronze doors, and by the grill work above, really a part of the design of the doors.
Also on the west facade, in two lower niches are four foot statues representing Saints Isidore and Juan Diego. The former, a twelfth-century Spanish farmer, is the patron of the agricultural workers. Hard working, poor, yet generous, he is shown with his spade. It is said that angels helped him with his plowing so that he would have time for his devotions. Juan Diego, also a laborer, was a Chichimeca Indian who was walking to Mass when the Virgin Mary appeared before him in December 1531. Despite the cold, his coarse cloak, or tilma, was filled with fragrant roses and imprinted with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe as proof of the miracle for his bishop. A basilica was built in her honor at the site of the vision, in present-day Mexico City. Our Lady of Guadalupe is patron of the Americas. The figures were chosen to represent the people of God in Nebraska and to recognize the contributions of Hispanic immigrants to the archdiocese.
The eye moves easily upward to the rose window, hanging like a jeweled pendant on the breast of the cathedral and upwards again to the baroque scrolls of the nave gable.
Reaching some two hundred twenty-two feet in the air, the tower completions were done by the Mainelli Construction Company at a cost of $135,000.
The towers are each crowned with a six-foot six hundred pound bronze cross and together, with the cross on the ridge of the center nave, form a completed "Trinity" - The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. The south tower holds three cast bronze swinging bells weighing over six thousand six hundred pounds.