Catholic Faith Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud

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History of the Disks

The Donors

We offer our heart-felt thanks to the generous donors who helped make the replacement of the disks possible.

People of the

Cathedral of Saint Mary

Very Reverend

Steven M. Binsfeld


Diocese of St. Cloud

Most Reverend

John F Kinney


Temple Israel of Minneapolis and

Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman

Rabbi Joseph Edelheit

Minneapolis Jewish Federation


Community Shabbat Services of St. Cloud

St. John's Abbey, Collegeville

Church of St. Joan of Arc, Minneapolis

Faculty and Staff of St. Cloud State University

Students of St. Cloud State University

Members of John XXIII / Cathedral High School

Board of Directors


Cold Spring Granite Company

Richard & Diane Cohen

Marjorie Coyle

Robert & Christine Inkster

Leo & Margaret Vos

Richard & Carol Feneis

Suellyn Hofmann

Mark & Mary Geller

Michael & Adeline Spitzer

Herbert & Florence Goodrich

Joan Schmid O.P.

LeRoy & Jean Poganski

Joseph & Alma Grams

John D. Ellenbecker

J.P. & Sharon Cairns

Elaine E. Leclaire

Laura Stanley

Dennis & Delores Johannes

Ellen Joyce

Kathleen Theisen

Charles & Sharon Kampa

Rosanne Fischer

Leon & Patricia Grahn

Jack & Janie Amundson


David Wendt

Robert Christensen, MD

Robert & Martha Wicker


John & Florrie Sipe

Fred & Heidi Senn

Mechtilde Ellis

In 2006, five new 20" diameter disks illustrating the "Mysteries of Light" by John Paul II replaced the swastikas placed on St. Mary's in 1930 as a decorative cross.


History of the Disks

St. Mary's, the first parish in the city and the Cathedral church since 1937, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2005. The current church, built under the leadership Fr. Luke Fink of the Benedictine community of St. John's Abbey, was begun in 1922 and completed in 1931. It is a testimony of the loving sacrifice of the parishioners of that era.


The people of St. Mary's worshipped in the completed lower church for several years. Work on the upper church was begun in 1927 before National Socialism controlled Germany. After their rise to power in 1933, the National Socialist Party adopted the swastika as their national symbol, several years after the exterior of the third and present St. Mary's church was finished.

Several decorative crosses were placed along the lower exterior of the church. Five of them displayed the ancient crux gammata or broken cross or swastika. The swastika has very ancient, pre-Christian roots. Very early adaptations appeared on catacomb tomb inscriptions and on a great number of monuments as a cross in Christian context. The disks had been placed on the exterior of St. Mary's Church because of this ancient Christian connection and for their decorative properties.


In 1999 St. Mary's "Vision 2000" Committee designed a capital campaign to repair and restore the exterior of St Mary's Church. It was their recommendation to remove the swastikas from the exterior of the church as we entered the third millennium of Christianity. They held the belief that the symbol could never have the meaning it once had to the ancient Christian community because of the pain and suffering inflicted on millions of people by the National Socialist (Nazi) Party. The evil face of Nazism surfaces even to this day. In 2000 the St Mary's Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council approved the removal the disks.

We at St. Mary's Cathedral stand in solidarity with the universal Church in its desire to walk with our Jewish sisters and brothers in building a better world where all life is respected because it is from God.


The five disks have been replaced by images illustrating the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary by the late Pope John Paul II. They were designed by artist Rolland A. Barthelemy of Cold Spring, MN. The five mysteries are:

1.    The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River

2.    Jesus' manifestation at the Wedding in Cana

3.    Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of God

4.    the Transfiguration

5.    the Institution of the Eucharist.

A Prayer


O God, We pray for courage, and for strength. When we remember the evils in the past, The innocents tortured, maimed, and murdered, We are almost afraid to make ourselves remember.

But we are even more afraid to forget. We ask for wisdom, that we might mourn, And not be consumed by hatred. That we might remember, and yet not lose hope. We must face evil And, in so doing, reaffirm our faith in future good. We cannot erase yesterday's pains, But we can vow that they will not have been suffered in vain. And so, we pray:For those who were given death, Let us choose life For us and generations yet to come.

For those who found courage to stand against evil --often at the cost of their lives-- Let us vow to carry on their struggle. We must teach ourselves, and our children To learn from hate that we must love, To learn from evil to live for good.

from Liturgies on the Holocaust, Marcia Sachs Littell

A saw cautiously cuts around the perimeter of a broken cross disk during removal in May of 2006