The importance of the recognition of the early “developers” of the area, from both the Church and State perspective, is apparent when one enters the vestibule of the church through one of three large doors on the west end (front) of the Cathedral. There are two cartouches (a painting depicting a scroll) of important figures in the history of Northern California, and a plaque commemorating the Cathedral’s founder.
On the left side of the vestibule is that of Captain Gabriel Moraga, a Spanish sea captain who named the Sacramento River after the “Holy Sacrament” after the early exploring Spaniard’s experience of the deep beauty of the river and nature surrounding it. (The city of Sacramento did not yet exist in 1808 when Captain Moraga named the river, but soon the city of the (Blessed) Sacrament would appear.) On the right side of the vestibule is a cartouche of Father Peter Augustine Anderson, who celebrated the first Mass in Sacramento in 1850 and established the first Catholic Church, Saint Rose of Lima Church, on a donated plot at 7th and K Streets.
The seminal figure in the Cathedral’s history, the Most Reverend Bishop Patrick Manogue (1829-1895) is commemorated with a marble plaque and relief on the back of the front wall. A 19-year-old Patrick Manogue followed his older brother Michael, after a few years, to the United States in the exodus of the social and economic calamities in Ireland. With hard work, determination and a prescient understanding of the growth of the region and of the Church, the Bishop built the Cathedral. Patrick, the gold miner who would become priest, then Bishop, constructed what was then the largest Catholic Church west of the Mississippi, and is still one of the most beautiful in the world.
Avella, Steven M., Fr. Sacramento and the Catholic Church, Shaping a Capital City. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2008.
Murphy, James T., Reverend Monsignor. A Pilgrim’s Guide to Sacramento’s Cathedral. France: Editions du Signe, 2006.