The marble pulpit is decorated with stone medallions that symbolize the four writers of the Gospels, the Four Evangelists: Mathew, a human head; Luke, the head of an ox; Mark, the head of a lion; and John, the head of an eagle. These symbols were first taken from the prophet Ezekiel (1:1-21) and later echoed in the Book of Revelation (4:6-8).
The main altar is made of imported Italian marble. It was gifted to the Cathedral by the late Bishop Jules B. Jeanmard, the first Bishop of Lafayette when the Cathedral was beautified during the 1930s. The medallions symbolizing the Four Evangelists also decorate the main altar. The blue and white mosaics on the front piece of the altar are of wheat and grapes, representatives of the bread and wine of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Another Eucharistic symbol, a mother pelican feeding her young from her flesh, is on the center of the main altar. The Louisiana state seal and flag also feature this same symbol.
The bishop’s chair, or cathedra, sits in the rear of sanctuary. It is decorated with columns to match the Romanesque interior and exterior of the church, a miter, and corinthian capitals. A marble mosaic of the bishop’s coat of arms is installed in the top center of the chair. This chair is used by the presiding bishop when he celebrates Mass. The English word Cathedral is derived from the Latin term cathedra: a cathedral is the Bishop’s church and the seat of the Diocese.
The round medallions at the top of the marble panels behind the Sanctuary de-pict various Christian symbols and sacramentals. From left to right: two rings to symbolize matrimony; holy oil urn-holy oils; keys-penance; fish-Christ; chalice-Eucharist; dove-Holy Spirit; grapes-wine; IHS-Jesus; wheat-bread; stole-priesthood; censer-incense; baptistry-baptism.
Eagle lecterns, popular in Anglican Churches, predate the Reformation and were used in several medieval English Catholic Churches. This antique eagle lectern is carved from English oak. The eagle further represents St. John the Evangelist.
Doctors of the Church
Oil paintings on canvas hang on either side of the sanctuary. They depict the Four Fathers, foundational theologians and teachers, of the Church. These four figures are: St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), defender of the faith and influencer of Western Christianity; St. Gregory I, Pope (540-604), who in-stituted the Gregorian Mission to convert Anglo Saxons to Christianity and perhaps originated the plainchant, also known as Gregorian chant; St. Je-rome (342-420), translator of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek to Latin; St. Ambrose (340-397), once Bishop of Milan and defender of the Church against Arianism that denied the divinity of Christ and converted St. Augustine.