Tonight, the East Rose Window over the front door of the Cathedral of Saint Paul will be lit for the inaugural “Festival of Lights” event.

Installed in 1932, the East Rose Window measures 32 feet in diameter — including the 20 small rosette windows — and was designed by noted stained glass artist Charles Connick.  The window depicts the resurrection of Jesus.

The public will see the window illuminated for this one night only from dusk until 10 p.m. Best viewing will be in front of the cathedral, at the intersection of John Ireland Boulevard and Selby Ave., St. Paul.

“Festival of Lights” is a fundraising event hosted by the Cathedral Heritage Foundation to generate funds for the restoration and preservation of the national landmark.

The idea for lighting the window came from John Dowdle, M.D., of Saint Paul, and Heritage Foundation volunteer, who has had a passion for illuminating the landmark on the hill.

“I have been driving down to the hospital at night for years and I always wanted to see the Cathedral lit as brightly as the Capitol,” said Dowdle.

On June 1, 2007, Dowdle hired Musco Sports Lighting of Iowa to light the front façade of the Cathedral on the eve of the Cathedral Cornerstone Centennial. The one-time event attracted thousands of visitors.

For this year’s festival event, Dowdle enlisted a collaborative partnership with LVX Minnesota to help light the large blue, stained-glass window over the front doors.

“The illumination behind the stained glass window which the public sees Friday night will equal approximately half that of average sunlight,” said John Pederson, CEO and inventor for LVX Minnesota.

The Cathedral Heritage Foundation is raising funds to pay off the remaining $6 million debt on the $35 million copper dome restoration undertaken from 2000-2002, in addition to addressing millions of dollars of interior restoration needs.

A separate lighting fund has also been established to raise support for more permanent exterior lighting. More information can be found at

Doors are open daily to the public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. except on Saturday when it’s open until 9 p.m.