Gary Topping: With all of that whole apparatus of the chancel and the altar and that, were there reinforcements that had to be installed below that, down to the foundation?
Gregory Glenn: Yeah. In fact, the old crypt where Bishop Scanlan used to be buried downstairs had to be destroyed because some kind of reinforcing beam or pillar had to be installed. There are new pillars found in the Social Hall downstairs that are directly beneath the chancel area. They're covered with plaster, so they look like they've always been there.
Gary Topping: So that was the reason for moving Bishop Scanlan's crypt upstairs?
Gregory Glenn: It was, although I also have to say that it was not a very noble place to bury him. The doorway exists today; it was a safe, the kind of door you would have on a safe. The room itself was very awkward; one couldn't go in there very easily.
He was exhumed. That was one of my strange jobs in the restoration process, to oversee his removal from the crypt. No one up here, in the rectory house, would do that. [Laughter] So I was given the job. When he was taken out of the marble sarcophagus, his casket had completely decayed. Not completely, but it has pretty much been destroyed. So his body was removed and placed on a noble stretcher, and I was instructed to go down and look at it. I remember he was inviolate. His body was all present. His skin was there. He looked very much like a dried flower, that kind of appearance. He was all intact. He had his crozier and his mitre, the old pontifical sunburst gloves, his hands were folded. He was a very tall man, very tall. That was a very striking moment.
There is a ring that he was given when he became the Bishop of Salt Lake City by the Bishop of Cashel, [in] the Arch[diocese] of Thurles, one of the older archdioceses in Ireland. This ring has a long history. I think it has medieval roots, if I remember correctly. Bishop Federal, when I came back upstairs after doing this--and by the way, the funeral directors were all in space suits [Laughter], and here I was [in street clothes], exposed to whatever . . . if I might contract some very strange disease in the future, you'll know why [Laughter]. But anyway, I came upstairs and Bishop Federal was at dinner. I was a bit shellshocked by the whole thing, and the first thing he asked me was, "Did you get the ring?" I said to him, "Well, no, I didn't get the ring." I wasn't about to take the ring, you know. [Laughter] It was one of those Young Frankenstein moments. But no, the ring is still there. It's only with subsequent reading of the early history of Utah that I even more and more recognize what an incredible man this was, what he accomplished in his years of work here in this diocese. So our great founder is now with us in the upper church, and that's good."
So Greg Glenn and the two morticians who exhumed the body are three living people who have actually seen Bishop Scanlan.
Two additional comments on Greg's narrative:
The reason the bishop was entombed in that not very satisfactory room is that when he built the Cathedral, Bishop Scanlan had had no idea of providing a burial space within the structure. At the time of the dedication of The Cathedral in 1909, though, Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore planted the idea that he should be buried there, and that in fact was his last request, so he had to be interred wherever space could be found.
The ring Greg refers to had been worn by the Bishops of Cashel for three hundred years, according to Scanlan's biographer. It had been given to him by one Archbishop Croke, not at the time of his episcopal ordination, but rather on the occasion of the young priest's departure for America, "with the prediction that he would wear it as a Bishop in the New World," a prophecy that obviously came true.