Notre Dame Cathedral enshrined in gingerbread at Holy Trinity Parish

Lisa Stiffler and Lorienne Mathews constructing the gingerbread Notre Dame at Holy Trinity parish in Weston. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

WESTON — Holy Trinity parishioners have for three years now honored places of faith and history in their Christmas displays, constructed of gingerbread!

The first year, celebrating the 175th anniversary of the parish, which coincided with the Weston Holiday Homes Tour, parishioner Lorienne Mathews and a crew of one baked and assembled a gingerbread model of Holy Trinity Church. The gingerbread church was prominently displayed. Last year, Mathews, Lisa Stiffler and artist Maresa Fisher baked, decorated and assembled a gingerbread model of the Vatican. One visitor later said he’d give the model an A+ grade.

The women had a plan for this year, but that changed when the news broke of the horrendous fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France this past Spring. Mathews and Lisa and Phil Stiffler shared many thoughts, ideas and eventually decided on how to construct Notre Dame in gingerbread.

They began this labor of love in early September, and after more than 600 hours of work and 450+ pounds of raw ingredients later, Notre Dame stands on a specially made table in the parish hall.

More than 500 pieces of gingerbread make up the structure. It is structurally accurate, even including the flying buttresses, and statuary on the building, scaled to about 1/159 of the cathedral’s actual size.

The statues and gargoyles, made of chocolate, total more than 100, along with clocks and stained glass windows, all made of candy. The whole thing weighs more than 600 pounds!
Mathews said it is 5 times bigger than the gingerbread Vatican was. The gingerbread cathedral is approximately 8 feet long, 7 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Maresa Fisher, an entrepreneurial artist, painted a Parisian scene as the backdrop. The Eiffel Tower is seen behind the Cathedral.

Mathews said the gingerbread is not a toothsome treat after hardening. “If I was to take a bite of it now, I’d have to have a dentist on call, it’s that hard.”

The effect is impressive, catch-your-breath. The display will be open from noon – 8 p.m., beginning Dec. 7 accompanied by a a European Christmas Market and Dinner. The Christmas Market, also in the parish hall will feature homemade baked goods, handcrafted items and holiday candles. The Dinner will feature complete meals with entrees of Quiche Lorraine, Shepherd’s Pie, European sides and dessert. Priced at $10/adults, $7/children under 12, the meals may be eaten in the hall or as carry outs.

Nativity scenes from around the world will be displayed in the church.

The gingerbread Cathedral will be on display through Epiphany, Jan. 6, 2020.The parish offices are closed on Tuesdays so call first to make sure someone is there to open the parish hall. Free will offerings will be graciously accepted.

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August 13, 2020
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph