The Crystal Cathedral sanctuary known around the world for its flying angels and messages of positive thinking on Wednesday became a place of prayer for its new owners: Orange County’s Catholics.
More than 1,200 Catholics filled the cathedral for the first Roman Catholic event held in the Protestant megachurch since the campus was bought by the Diocese of Orange in a court-ordered bankruptcy sale.
With candles on each side, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was temporarily placed in the front of the Crystal Cathedral sanctuary for the Orange County Catholic Prayer Breakfast – the first Catholic event in the cathedral since it was purchased by the Diocese of Orange. The Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Diocese of Orange.
Outside the future Christ Cathedral, helium balloons were strung up in single rows to resemble the beads of a rosary. Inside, more than 1,200 Catholics received a bag with literature and one special gift: a silver-toned and white-beaded rosary from Italy.
Wednesday’s Catholic prayer breakfast was videotaped by the same crew members who videotape the Sunday morning Crystal Cathedral services, which are distributed worldwide through the “Hour of Power” television show. …
Congregants listened to chanting Carmelite nuns and recited a rosary.
They prayed in front of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.
“This is an example of what future events and gatherings can be like – the space, the spirit, the message,” the Rev. Christopher Smith said following the prayer breakfast.
Smith will lead the transformation of the Crystal Cathedral into a Catholic place of worship the diocese will rename Christ Cathedral. The Crystal Cathedral Ministries will stay on the campus until June, when it will transfer to the nearby St. Callistus Catholic Church under an arrangement with the diocese.
On Wednesday, the diocese rented the facility for the morning and brought in a large wooden crucifix and other accoutrements to give the cathedral a more Catholic feel.
Plans to renovate the cathedral are expected to begin next summer. On Wednesday, leaders announced the diocese’s first capital campaign – a drive to raise $100 million, half of it to renovate and support the future Christ Cathedral. Until then, the Catholics cannot celebrate Mass in the stunning glass-paneled church because the cathedral is not yet a consecrated place, said Mick Fern, one of the event’s organizers.
Inside, Orange County Bishop Tod Brown, who is in Rome, addressed the congregants on a video. He called the future move to the cathedral “a historic moment for our diocese” and said he expects the renovations to be done by 2015….
Guest speaker George Weigel, a senior fellow of the conservative Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, spoke about “aggressive secularism” and “a new assault” on religious freedoms….
Meanwhile, Smith, the priest who will be become the future Christ Cathedral’s rector, told the group that the cathedral will become a center for Catholic worship, an outreach center to the poor and “a place of orthodoxy.”
Near the speakers, front center in the sanctuary, were two chairs, one slightly bigger. The larger chair was symbolic of what’s to come: a cathedra, or bishop’s chair, that will hold a spot of prominence in the church by 2015.
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