Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Monsignor Joseph Mayo, center, talks with Monsignor Terence Moore and Father Martin Diaz during a Catholic Church conference in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.

SALT LAKE CITY — Catholics from throughout North America are gathering in Salt Lake City this week to focus on the important religious ministry that takes place in and around the Catholic Church’s cathedrals.

The Rev. Robert Barron, whose “Word on Fire” television ministry extends beyond the Archdiocese of Chicago, where he is a priest, will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 Cathedral Ministry Conference. He will share his perspective that a cathedral is a prime location for Catholic evangelization, not only because it is the bishop’s church but also because many of those who attend Mass and other events there are visitors or travelers.

This is the first time the biennial conference has been hosted in Utah, and Monsignor Joseph M. Mayo, rector of Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine, is anxious to share his unique facility with conference guests during conference sessions that will continue Tuesday through Thursday.

“The cathedral is a bright star in North America, as someone said, because of our choir school and the beauty of the cathedral,” Mayo said. “It’s one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the West because of its art — its windows and decoration — and its music.”

The Madeleine Choir School is the only boy/girl choir school in the United States.

“They are a huge draw,” Mayo said. “People are amazed that we have this. They really help to enhance the liturgy of the church, and a cathedral should be about good liturgy.”

The liturgical prowess of the Cathedral of the Madeleine will be showcased in one of the conference workshop presentations. Other workshops will focus on adult theological education; development, marketing and “friend-raising;” creating a successful cathedral website; young adult ministry; community outreach; and the cathedral’s role in ethnic ministries.

Taking advantage of the unique setting for the conference, one workshop will feature “Everything you wanted to know about Mormonism … but were afraid to ask.” Tours will also be offered to the LDS Church’s Temple Square, Family History Library and Welfare Square, as well as to the Catholic Church’s own Weigand Center with its outreach to Salt Lake City’s homeless population.

For more information about the Cathedral Ministry Conference, please click here.