LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

 Week 8: Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels



One of the finest cathedrals in the country, the construction of this 11 story Cathedral began May 1999 and was completed by the spring of 2002.  Spanish architect Professor Jose Rafael Moneo designed this contemporary Cathedral with virtually no right angles.  This geometry contributes to its feeling of mystery and its aura of majesty.  The design challenge was to reflect the diversity of all people.  Moneo wanted both a public space and to instill that special feeling people seek when they go to church.  To the architect these two competing interests suggested a series of buffering, intermediating spaces, plazas, staircases, colonnades, and an unorthodox entry.  Worshippers enter on the south side, rather than the center of the Cathedral through a monumental set of bronze doors crowned by a contemporary statute of Our Lady of the Angels.  A fifty foot concrete cross “lantern” adorns the front of the Cathedral.  At night glass-protected alabaster windows are illuminated and can be seen at a far distance.  The Cathedral is built with architectural concrete in a color reminiscent of the sunbaked abode walls of the California Missions and is constructed to last 500 years.  Not an easy feat in earthquake- prone Los Angeles.  The Cathedral features a mausoleum in its lower level.  The Church organ is the 89th largest pipe organ in North American.  We easily spent over an hour inside and outside in this “must see” cathedral.

 Located at 555 W. Temple in the midst of downtown LA, parking is available, and hours are 9:00 to 4:30.



Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.




Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.