St. Paul will be lit purple for the Prince tribute show (save for the Cathedral)

Hallelujah, praise be to Prince! Unless it's a pain in the ass.

Hallelujah, praise be to Prince! Unless it's a pain in the ass. Associated Press

The ball started rolling last week. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced that Oct. 13 would be Prince Day.

The proclamation would coincide with the much-anticipated Prince tribute concert (which just lost one of its stars) slated for Xcel Energy Center downtown that same night.

Visit St. Paul swept into action after Coleman's announcement. Among the tasks assumed by the city's convention and visitor's arm was to approach building owners, asking if they'd install purple lights for the day. According to Visit St. Paul's Adam Johnson, the lights would be provided free of charge. The buildings just needed to install them.

The response was overwhelming, says Johnson. He expects to see the purple glow emanating from about 30 locations, including restaurants and landmarks like Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and the James J. Hill Center.   

Of all those asked to participate in the lighting, one passed. Thanks, but no thanks, the Cathedral of St. Paul told Johnson.

"They said they were going to decline," Johnson says. "They didn't give a reason."

In the past the lights of the Roman Catholic cathedral have glowed different colors. It was lit pink for breast cancer awareness about seven years ago. Blue shone more recently when St. Paul hosted the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships. Could it be that the purple representing an artist known for eroticism doesn't jibe with the church's sensibilities?

Cathedral spokesperson Carolyn Will insists declining has zero to do with Prince or anything he represents. Instead, she blames complicated logistics.

"We're not talking about changing eight light bulbs," Will says. "There are hundreds. We operate with such a small staff here that agreeing to it would have been opening a real can of worms."

The Cathedral would like to be more responsive to "civic events," she adds. In this instance, lack of time and labor colluded to make it a non-starter.

Whatever the issues would've been, St. Paul's iconic structure will be accented in its usual light tomorrow night as most of the city bathes in a purple glow.