Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Mar 2, 2011

This morning a Press Release was sent to all parishes about the situation regarding the Cathedral.

The text of the release:

Expert advisors met with Bishop Barry Jones and diocesan personnel today to consider the badly damaged Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

An engineer’s report based on an exterior inspection reveals that the dome of the Cathedral is forcing outwards the weight bearing structures and presents a severe hazard to the surrounding area.

Another earthquake like that of 22 February would see the dome topple.

The decision has been made to remove the dome and this process will take some months to complete.

The present state of the building is so dangerous that no one may enter it for any reason.

The removal of the dome can only be done by cranes at a distance from the building.

No decisions will be made about the future of the building until a detailed engineering report is generated. This will occur when access to the building is safely restored, after the dome has been removed.

I found the Press Release very difficult to read. Even more difficult for me was seeing the photos a friend emailed to me.

My eyes filled with tears when I saw the pictures and knew that the dome was to be removed. While it is true that the Cathedral is a building not a person, there is a most real sense in which a Cathedral has a life. We have lived in this place. We have celebrated the sacraments that give us life in this holy place. My great grandparents contributed to the building of this Cathedral. I am struggling to see it struggle.

But the Cathedral is not heart of the Catholic life of our diocese. God is our heart. The Cathedral exists to point us to God. And even if our Cathedral is struggling with an uncertain future, God is alive and present.

I will know this anew when I turn out the light tonight. Once again, when our city is filled with such loss and devastation, I know that God is real and present. Even in our present difficulties and griefs, we have nothing to fear.


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