Earlier this year, as we celebrated the rededication of the Cathedral of St. Joseph, we hosted a public open house during which over 500 guests came to see the Cathedral and enjoy refreshments in the renovated Cana Hall. Both during the public open house and following the rededication, tours of the Cathedral have been given by docents who work to help explain the artwork, architecture, statuary, and liturgical features of the church.
Jeni Doolittle is new to the diocese and shares what led her to get involved as a docent.
“There were so many things I wanted to learn about, not only the Cathedral but also the diocese,” Jeni says. “I love learning about church architecture and art. It inspires great awe and wonder as I explore and better understand the depth and beauty of the true purpose of the many aspects of our church buildings and art.”
The Cathedral is a sacred space that invites parishioners and guests to encounter Christ. Touring the Cathedral, guided by a docent, can help people understand all of the beautiful artistic elements of the Cathedral, in turn bringing them closer to Jesus as they learn about and meditate on the physical beauty found here.
Christy Trimble joined the docent team for the rededication and shares what led her to get involved.
“I had been a docent at the Missouri State Governor’s Mansion for 23 years, and thoroughly enjoyed giving tours and learning about the state’s history,” Christy says. “Once it was announced that the church was going to add a docent team, I was excited. I was mesmerized by the beauty and thoughtful details that were incorporated in the sanctuary and I think it is wonderful to have a program to educate and share stories.”
There are about 20 points of interest that are discussed during each tour — these include the Cathedral portico and narthex, shrines to Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the crucifix and recessed apse, the altar (and relics), tabernacle, ambo, baptistery, stained glass windows, and Stations of the Cross.
Any member of the Cathedral of St. Joseph, or another parish in the Diocese of Jefferson City can serve as a docent. There is a detailed guide that has been put together and new docents shadow more experienced docents to learn and gain understanding first.
“We must first invite and welcome others before we can fully enter into relationships of prayer, formation, and service with them,” says Steve Meystrik, leader of the ministry. “Docents welcome and show hospitality first and foremost — but they also educate, serve, and invite others to prayer. These tours are important because we open our doors to people from all walks of life — and by opening these physical doors, we open doors to conversation and learning, which can lead to conversion of heart and mind.”
If you have questions about the Cathedral of St. Joseph Docents, or to get involved, contact Steve Meystrik at 573-635-7991, ext. 303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.