More than 600 donors and guests attended the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels' tenth anniversary liturgy and gala celebration Sept. 1, featuring dining, dancing and fireworks under the stars.At the 5 p.m. Mass concelebrated with more than 40 clergy including Archbishop José Gomez, presider, Cardinal Roger Mahony and Los Angeles’ auxiliary bishops, prayers of gratitude were offered for the Cathedral and its builders, benefactors and beneficiaries."Today as we celebrate this beautiful anniversary, we give glory to God as we thank Him for the gift of this great Cathedral," said Archbishop Gomez in his homily. "And, in a special way, we want to give thanks for all those many people at every level who worked hard and sacrificed for many years to help build this temple to the living God in the heart of this great city. It is a day to celebrate with joy — thanks be to God."Following the Mass, the congregation streamed outdoors as the St. Monica High School Choir serenaded the guests before they took their seats for dinner on the plaza facing the front of the Cathedral, with its 50-foot concrete cross "lantern" casting a warm glow over the crowd.In her welcoming remarks, Gretchen Willison, who shared master of ceremonies duties with Bill Ahmanson, called the Cathedral the physical representation of who Catholics are. "As Catholics, this Cathedral stands for all the good that we are and that we aspire to be: it stands for light, it stands for love, it stands for compassion and most importantly, it stands for forgiveness, for we are not a perfect people. This building calls all of us to be the best we can be," said Willison.Taking a look back at the journey to complete the Cathedral — five years of fundraising and four years of construction — Cardinal Mahony shared that it was his hope and vision that the new Cathedral would become an "anchor for the ages to nourish visible and strong hope" for three communities: archdiocesan parishes; surrounding civic institutions and city neighborhoods; and travelers commuting on the nearby Hollywood Freeway.The Cathedral, he envisioned, would be an inspiration so that "each would feel God's own touch and presence and be opened to the light of God touching their own deepest places, the geography of their own hearts."Noting that the Cathedral has been shaped by the craft and loving skills of many artisans, he explained that the Cathedral is a place where "we strive to become different kinds of artisans — of peace and good will, forging links among diverse groups."Our great Cathedral achieves its destiny when the mystery of the church is fully lived out in the gathering of God's people, in the celebration of the Eucharist, in the splendid liturgies which trace each year God's plan of salvation for all of us," said Cardinal Mahony.Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik, Cathedral pastor, thanked the three co-chair couples — Judy and Jim Brooks, Janet and Michael Feeley and Margie and Tom Romano — for serving as anniversary chairs for the celebration/fundraiser."I'm grateful tonight that over $600,000 has been raised for this event for completing the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for supporting our outreach and for supporting us in our ministries," said Msgr. Kostelnik. "[The Cathedral] should always be a sign of the beautiful promise and mission that Jesus gave to his church: to form the family of God, ‘La Familia de Dios,’ one family of God from every country, race and language," said Archbishop Gomez. “This Cathedral should be the soul of our city.Describing the Cathedral as "the spiritual epicenter for the new evangelization for our city and our continent," the archbishop remarked on the significance of the dedication of the Cathedral's new Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, honoring the "bright star and patroness for the new evangelization."He said the Cathedral must be a living sign of the Catholic Church's special mission to make Los Angeles a city of love and truth. "And a city of love and truth is a city where the love of God is shown in the respect for human life from conception to natural death," said Archbishop Gomez to applause."It is a city,” he continued, “where the family is respected as the foundation of society. It is a city where we rediscover the beauty of marriage and family; it is a city where we live together as brothers and sisters and where all of us take care of our neighbors in need." Joining the crowd filing out to the Cathedral Plaza at the close of the liturgy, Don Hoffman, a parishioner from Holy Family Church in South Pasadena, shared his pride in the Cathedral building and its outreach programs.“I was here ten years ago when it opened, and it’s just as beautiful as it was then,” said Hoffman.“I’m sure the Cathedral is reaching its purpose as a meeting place for all religions, and especially our Catholic religion,” said Louis Smulders, who traveled from Houston, with his wife, Laetitia, to attend the anniversary event.“I think the archbishop really said it best — the Cathedral is the heartbeat of the City of Los Angeles,” said Carmelite Father Paul Henson, principal of Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino.“It’s a centerpiece of downtown Los Angeles for all faiths besides being the Cathedral for all the Catholic churches,” declared Cathedral parishioner Michael Sullivan.Fellow Cathedral parishioner Michael Mesa, a Cathedral young adult volunteer who was an altar server at the liturgy, described the archdiocese’s mother church as “a place of worship [to] get in touch with God in this very busy city.”“This has really become the place where everyone comes together,” said Doug Campbell, who designed the gardens of the Cathedral along with his wife, Regula. “As Archbishop Gomez said in the Mass today, it’s the embodiment of the city, a very important influence.”“The community here is bringing people together, bringing the sacred into the center of the city,” added Regula.“The Cathedral has definitely become kind of a focal point, not only for the community but especially for the archdiocese,” said San Fernando Region Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson. “It took courage and vision to build it and it’s wonderful that so many people of the archdiocese became a part of it.”Dr. Robert Doud, professor emeritus of philosophy and religious studies at Pasadena City College whose poem, “Los Angeles Cathedral at Ten,” was printed in the Cathedral’s “Reflections” memory book given to attendees, said that the Cathedral has made him feel more a part of the community because “I love it so much and I get to share it with everybody else.”Artist Lalo Garcia, designer of the Cathedral’s exterior Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, said his association with the Cathedral from its early planning days, through its construction and completion has been “really amazing,” especially seeing the Cathedral filled with people. “It has really transformed my entire life as an artist and as an individual,” said Garcia. “It has transformed my work. I’m just so blessed to be here ten years later and enjoying this celebration.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0907/gala/{/gallery}