Apr 302011

by Anura Guruge

The March 18, 2011 post of Cardinal Burke sporting a red, 15-tassel (on each side) galero proved to be very popular. We should also not forget the November 30, 2010 post about the giant, motorized red galero float prepared for the newly created Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don by the ever resourceful and creative folks of Sri Lanka. [Disclosure: I was born in Ceylon.]

We visited St. Patrick’s in New York City last Thursday, and given the interest folks had shown in seeing pictures of the suspended galeros of dead cardinals, I asked my wife to take some pictures of the four, cardinal galeros at the Cathedral.

The four galeros suspended from the vault of the East-end apse (a.k.a. sanctuary), behind the altar, belonged to:

1/ Cardinal John McCloskey (born 1810, created 1875, died 1885, bio),

2/ Cardinal John Murphy Farley (born 1842, created 1911, died 1918, bio),

3/ Cardinal Patrick Joseph Hayes (born 1867, created 1924, died 1938, bio), and

4/ Cardinal Francis Spellman (born 1889, created 1946, died 1967, bio).

The gallero worn by Cardinal Spellman is said to have belonged to Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (created 1929) — who went onto become Pius XII (#261) in 1939. Spellman was one of his creations.

In 1969, post Vatican II, a papal decree, by Paul VI (#263), eliminated the practice of cardinals receiving a galero when created — deeming that it was too elaborate and would detract with people identifying with their lord cardinal. The faithful in New York adhering to this papal edict stopped presenting galeros (galeri) to their cardinals — though the papal edict only eliminated new cardinals receiving a galero at their creation consistory as opposed to a blanket ban on cardinals receiving galeros from their fans. Subsequently, Cardinal Terrence Cooke who died in 1983 and Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor who died in 2000 did not (in theory) have galeros that could be suspended in public. Hence, just the four galeros of the four cardinals who died prior to 1969.

The apse vault is about 80′ to 85′ feet above the floor. The cables used to suspend the galleros appear to be 15′ to 20′ in length. So they are still way up there and the lighting is subdued. Hence the quality of the pictures.

Four useful links about St. Patrick’s: Wikipedia, St. Patrick’s Cathedral Web site, the architecture, and Fordam University description.


St. Patrick's Cathedral by Anura Guruge

The Altar, facing West. The apse with the galeros is behind this.

  10 Responses to “Cardinal Galeros In New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral”

  1. So Cooke and O’Connor did not get galeri special-ordered a la Bernardin?

  2. The faithful in NYC took the lead from Pius VI (when he stopped handing out galari) and stopped getting galeri for Terrence Cooke et. al.

  3. That was Paul VI’s doing,Pius VI would never have done that…

  4. Louis,
    I got it right in the post. Of course it was Paul VI. Trust me when I am typing in a hurry I get Pius and Paul mixed up all the time. Sorry.

  5. I’ve been to St. Patrick’s a couple of times and I’ll admit I never noticed the Galeros hanging in the rafters. It’s too bad the practice has gone out of use. If nothing else for it to be hung symbolically within the Cardinal’s Cathedral. Perhaps it’s because I live in a diocese that has never had (and almost assuredly never will have) a sitting Cardinal, the idea is a novelty to me to have a Galero in the Cathedral.

  6. I had NOT noticed them before either — and I was there exactly a year ago. This time, after the ‘recent’ post on galeros … I went looking. Actually there are a number of mosaics on the floor as well. I captured those on my hard-drive video recorder. I haven’t looked at the video yet. When I do, I will check to see the names. At least one of the mosaics was a green, bishop’s, galero. I don’t know how much they are (I could look on ebay) … but, I doubt whether they can be much more than say US $1,000. [I could be wrong since I vaguely remember hearing that some of the hats worn at the royal wedding cost much more.] BUT, the point is there is NOTHING to stop you buying a galero and presenting it to your favorite cardinal. So YOU could give one to the current cardinal from NY with the understanding that you want it strung-up when the cardinal moves on.
    I just checked. There is a black galero on ebay (as I had suspected) for $229.99. My wife is very good at sewing and crafts. So IF you buy that hat and send it up, I am sure she can cover it in cardinal red and sew in 15 tassels on each side. I think you can get tassels at Michael’s. For you … no charge for labor or parts. So YOU could have a galero for under $350 — factoring in shipping.
    All the best. Cheers.

  7. Gammarelli doesn’t list a price for them?

  8. I am not sure I was ever able to find a Web site for them. I will look again. Not a place I normally go shopping at. I tend to be an Amazon, ebay, TigerDirect, newegg type person.
    If you have a link for Gammarelli please let me have it.

  9. Interesting Discussion. Just FYI I have a New/Barely used Priest’s Galero from Barbiconi in Rome. I’m looking to sell. It is authentic black beaver skin with the tassels included, very sharp. Email me for pictures and a price quote if you like. arbitor.of.elegance@gmail.com

  10. Robert,
    My e-mail appears on the right-hand side side-bar. Please send me details. I am always looking for unusual head-gear for the Summer, the larger the better — because I try to protect my skin from the Sun. I am tanned enough already.
    Thanks. I love your e-mail. Cheers.

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