Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, California, likes to tell the story of once visiting Orange County while he was still serving in Fort Worth, Texas, with no idea of what the future might hold.
Bishop Todd Brown of Orange, who at the time was about to hit the usual retirement age of 75, gave him a tour of the Crystal Cathedral, the once-glimmering home of the Rev. Robert Schuller of the Reformed Church in America and his famed “Hour of Power,” which had been put up for sale after Schuller’s ministry went bankrupt and was destined to be taken over by the Catholic Church.
By 2012, when the Orange diocese negotiated the sale of the cathedral compound for $57.5 million – a steal by Orange County standards, with some of the most expensive real estate in the world – years of delayed maintenance and the complications of converting a quintessentially Protestant space for Catholic liturgical use made the project one of the most logistically daunting ever undertaken in American Catholicism.
“I really pity whoever gets this place next,” Vann said he was thinking, laughing out loud at the memory.
The joke turned out to be on him, because Vann was named to Orange County in September 2012 and installed in December, meaning the Crystal Cathedral, now Christ Cathedral, was suddenly his baby.
Ten days from today, in a sense that baby will be baptized, as Christ Cathedral will be formally dedicated. That doesn’t mean all the work is done, as the cathedral isn’t actually expected to be open for daily use until February 2020. However, it does mark a major milestone and something of a victory lap for Vann.
Christ Cathedral will be Vann’s legacy, and no one will ever visit the remarkable facility without thinking about him.
Full story at Crux.