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January 26, 2024

Say Hello to Chia Lor!

Chia is our Hmong translator and voice-over narrator for our upcoming multi-language virtual tour of the Cathedral of Saint Paul.

We will have more news on the launch of the new audio/video tour app in next month's newsletter.

Here's a sneak listen to the introduction read by Chia: CHAPTER 1: Welcome, Hmong Translation, Cathedral Virtual Tour. LINK

Meet Chia Lor, age 31, as she shares her background with us.

Chia Lor, Hmong translator and narrator

Q: Describe your profession currently, or most recently. 

A. Freelancer and Stay-at-home mom

Q: Name the region and the city/town from which you come from in your native country.

A. The Hmong people do not have a country, but as a part of that diaspora, I was born in the Chiang Kham refugee camp in the Chiang Kham district of Thailand.

Q: What led to your move to the U.S. and how long have you been here?

A. In 1994, I moved to Minnesota, U.S.A., as a refugee at the age of 2, with my parents and little brother.

The red arrow indicates the location of the Chiang Kham refugee camp in Thailand where Chia Lor was born.

Cultural foods

Q: Name a popular dish from your native region and share a short description of what makes it delcious.

A. Hmong food is a combination of many southeast Asian food (Lao, Thai, Vietnamese, etc.). Check out the Hmong Town Marketplace not too far from the Cathedral of Saint Paul and you will find delicious dishes like the eggroll! Hmong eggrolls have become quite popular: Pork (or other meat) mixed with cellophane noodles, eggs vegetables like ccabbage, carrots and onions, wrapped up in a crunchy rice pastry wrapper...then deep-fried to golden perfection!

HmongTown Marketplace

217 Como Avenue, Saint Paul.

Open seven days a week:

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cathedral of Saint Paul and St. Raphael Cathedral

Q: What aspect of the Cathedral delighted you most or surprised you?

A: What surprised me me most was learning about the connection between the Apostle Paul's background as a tentmaker and the domed tent-like shape of the Cathedral's structure! How fitting it is indeed to have the Cathedral of Saint Paul named after him, and also represents perfectly the diversity of Saint Paul, MN because he was the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Q: Name a Cathedral or landmark church that would be similar in your native country.

A: I've never seen it, but I would say the cathedral in Thailand closest to the Cathedral of Saint Paul would probably be the St. Raphael Cathedral in the City of Surat Thani. It does have a dome-like roof, though not as rounded. Learn more here.

Thank you, Chia!

St. Raphael Cathedral, City of Surat Thani, Thailand.

Cathedral Christmas Festival Photo Recap and note from the CHF Board Chair...

On behalf of the Cathedral Heritage Foundation's board, I want to add our thanks to all those who made the 2023 Christmas Festival so magical—

Andrew Kuhrmeyer, and the whole Kuhrmeyer family, whose dream it was to make the Christmas Market a reality,

our volunteers and board members who helped staff the market,

our vendors, the Cathedral parish staff who patiently helped us set up and monitored the comings-and-goings of the crowds,

the angelic voices of the Cathedral Children's Choir,

and especially Steven C., Jillian [Gubash] Anderson, and their talented group of singers and performers, who so generously donated a portion of their Christmas Together concert's ticket price to the CHF's restoration mission—

and finally, Father Ubel, who not only cheerfully welcomed our guests to fill the Cathedral itself to the rafters, but also rescued the "Cathedral Fox", whose sweet face became the symbol of the 2023 Cathedral Christmas Festival. 


I first encountered Christmas markets in Germany and was entranced by their sounds, sights, the high artistry of the vendors and their merchandise, the spirit of celebration and fellowship, and yes--the "glühwein"--all of which, I hope you all will agree, were hallmarks of the Cathedral Christmas Market. We hope to be back in 2024 and to grow and improve on what we learned during the 2023 market.  


Although the Christmas season may have officially ended, I can still extend Tiny Tim's Christmas wish to you all: May "God bless us, everyone!"


Mary Schaffner

Cathedral Heritage Foundation, Board Chair


Market guests visiting She Sells Sanctuary stand!

Photos by Matt Blewett

See the full album on our Facebook page:

Christmas carolers serenaded visitors in the Cathedral courtyard.

All ages came out to visit the vendors, purchase dinner from the food trucks and grab a warm beverage to enjoy by the fire.

Steven C. took the spotlight with his 7th annual Christmas Together

concert series.

Steven C and Chris Ganza, Cathedral organist and Sacred Music Director, not only like blending their piano and organ sounds, they like coordinating their festive outfits.

Grammy-award winning acoustic guitar player, Pat Donohue, joined the musical ensemble. Most people know Pat from his many years of performing music on Prairie Home Companion, broadcast nationally on NPR.

Cathedral of Saint Paul's St Cecilia Children's Choir lent their angelic voices.

We thank everyone who purchased a ticket, brought a friend, family or neighbor, and supported the Cathedral Heritage Foundation's mission to preserve the Cathedral as a historic monument and a community treasure, and supporting it as a venue for the arts and education.

We cannot thank our community sponsors enough.

  • McGough,
  • PB Premier Banks
  • Twin Cities Pioneer Press
  • Hubbard Broadcasting
  • Your Classical MPR
  • Kowalski's Markets
  • Heppner's Auto Body & Glass
  • Après Event Décor and Tent Rental

All CHF staff and volunteers as well. Thank you for coming out and spreading Christmas joy!

Contact AndrewK@CathedralHF.org or Sue Bengston at CathedralHF@nfrcom.com if you are interested in stepping up as a 2024 sponsor.

Get In Touch

CHF Administrative Asst.

Susan Bengston



CathedralHF@nfrcom.com 1430 Concordia Ave. P.O. Box 40027 Saint Paul, MN 55104-5485



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