Cathedral Gift Shop offers faith-inspired merchandise

The Christmas tree featuring the Mystical Rose Window ornaments. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception downtown is a Kansas City landmark. The dome, cupola and cross, which in 1883 towered over all other buildings in the city, was covered in 23-carat gold leaf in 1960 by Bishop Cody, later Cardinal Cody, and many Kansas Citians are familiar with the sight of it. There have been several renovations over the past 135 years, but what most parishioners and visitors to the Cathedral see is the 2003 renovation by Bishop Raymond J. Boland. That renovation created an alcove off the front vestibule which, in 2004, was put into use for a gift shop.

While the renovation was ongoing, a listening campaign was held to learn what parishioners liked, didn’t like and what they considered a need. A sizeable number said they wanted a gift shop, so visitors and parishioners could purchase items related to the Cathedral for gifts or for themselves.

Parishioners also wanted a more structured organization for the parish. The Cathedral Guild was founded about this time for that reason.

Through the visionary leadership of John and Mary Margaret Parks, who were nicknamed Mr. and Mrs. Cathedral, the St. Joseph gift shop was established and, by 2006, was a weekend fixture.

Run by volunteers, the gift shop is open before and after all Saturday and Sunday Masses. Recently Melissa Rosado de Christenson, M.D., took over as manager of the gift shop. A long-time volunteer, Jeanne Matthews, spoke to The Catholic Key about its Christmas displays and promotions.

Hospitality is a major focus of the gift shop, and cookies are often set out for shoppers after Masses. A visitor can’t help but smile when looking at the items displayed for sale. They aren’t haphazardly arranged. Greenery, flowers and scarves in colors that make the statues noticed complete the displays. Presentation of the merchandise is important, Matthews said. It makes shopping more fun when it’s attractively presented. And the volunteers want to make the customers happy so when they leave they go with a smile.

And the gift shop is getting in new merchandise and ideas for the future every day. Volunteers dedicate their own personal time to stocking, straightening up, and displays.

A tabletop tree decorated in red-and-gold features Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception’s 2018 Christmas ornaments — the “Mystical Rose” window — installed during the 2003 renovation. The Cathedral’s Self-Guided Tour book describes the window. The Rose Window titled “Mystical Rose” is an abstract of the idea of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. (Revelation 12:1 speaks of the sun, the moon and a crown of 12 stars.) Commissioned by the late Bishop Boland, the Mystical Rose Window, which can be seen on the south wall of the church, was fabricated by Michael Pila of Minneapolis, Minn. Beautifully boxed, the ornaments may be purchased with a tabletop hanger or hung on a tree.

There are statues, holy cards, and many other items of interest to parishioners and visitors.

Proceeds from St. Joseph’s Gift Shop go to Cathedral projects, including the purchasing and care of altar linens, arts and environment, which ensures that the worship space is prayerful, beautiful, even festive, and celebrations of anniversaries of the priests assigned to the Cathedral, senior activities, funeral luncheons and Cathedral tours. Not long ago, the gift shop was able to purchase a washer and dryer for the priests.

The volunteers are hoping soon to open up a wall of the shop next to the vestibule with gates similar to those of the Tabernacle Chapel near the sanctuary.

Both cash and credit cards are welcomed. You are invited to stop in before or after a weekend Mass and look around. Who knows, you might see something special!


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September 26, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph