Christ Cathedral update

Progress continues as July 17 dedication approaches

The Crux Gemmata, inlaid with precious stones, is hoisted into place. (image: Chuck Bennett)

Since last summer, when Christ Cathedral’s distinctive quatrefoils were installed to shade and buffer its 10,000 glass panes, significant progress is transforming the former Crystal Cathedral into a Catholic worship center.

Most recently the Hazel Wright Organ – the world’s fifth-largest organ and arguably its most famous – is being reinstalled so it ultimately can be voiced and tuned. In addition, the Crux Gemmata [giant crucifix] now hangs above the Italian marble altar on its stone predella, just in front of the matching Carrara marble Bishop’s Chair.

As work on the organ’s restoration continues, sacred art is being created by world-renowned artists, and original music commissioned for Christ Cathedral’s dedication events in July is being composed. The historic July 17 dedication also marks the first time the Catholic Church’s new Rite of Dedication will be used to dedicate a cathedral in an English-speaking country.

“If you were to enter the cathedral right now you would see workers installing and adjusting special spotlights and illumination over the altar, in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and the baptistery,” explains Episcopal Vicar Father Christopher Smith, rector of Christ Cathedral Parish.

“The stonework is finished, the walls are pretty much finished, and workers are doing some fine-tuning of the finish work where the stone walls meet the stone floors,” Fr. Christopher continues. “The baptistery pool was recently installed and they’re putting the stone cladding on it, and the decorative metal walls and chapel (designed by cathedral architects Johnson Fain) are installed.”

As John Romeri, the Diocese of Orange director of Music Ministries, awaits original compositions for the dedication events, he notes that the cathedral’s choir area is ready to go as soon as furniture arrives. Balcony pews are installed; plans are to install pews on the main floor in March.

Progress largely depends on the final installation of the organ’s thousands of parts – including more than 16,000 pipes, some of which are up to 32 feet long – that are now laid out and organized on the cathedral floor.

Now that the building’s transformed infrastructure is in place, Fr. Christopher says, cathedral work crews are awaiting the arrival of sacred artworks, such as the 14 Stations of the Cross rendered in bronze by Bolivian-born artist Pablo Eduardo and the huge tapestry woven in Belgium depicting Jesus Christ King of the Universe, all of which will have their homes inside the cathedral.

Father Christopher expects to supervise installation of the sacred art and adjustment of lighting in the spring.

“It’s been fascinating to watch as the glass building has been transformed into a Catholic cathedral,” Father Christopher says. “It’s been quite a learning experience to watch and listen to all these experts at work. It’s given me a newfound respect for people in many trades.”

Full story at OC Catholic.

Comments

  1. http://mike%20m says

    For some, sounds like this will be a fantastic combination of many different contributions for the greater glory of God. Some will continue to consider this a huge ‘waste’. I can’t help but wonder what popular opinion was when the ‘ideal’ medieval cathedrals opened.

    • http://Bob says

      People in Europe probably thought their cathedrals were glorious structures that allow us to celebrate our Faith.. Having seen many of them, they are just as magnificent today as they were when they were created.

  2. http://Simon%20of%20Simony says

    Quote from the article above:

    “Most recently the Hazel Wright Organ – the world’s fifth-largest organ and arguably its most famous – is being reinstalled so it ultimately can be voiced and tuned.”

    Spectacular visual and audio enhancements are reminders of the Jimmy Swaggart style of “honky-tonk” religion at its finest, designed to evoke spontaneous upheavals of emotion, disguised to induce the “unsuspecting” faithful to believe that the Holy Spirit entered them.

    Sounds like heresy Messalianism being repackaged into a more modern and palatable form.

  3. http://Xavier says

    Just trying to comprehend that photo which shows a huge cross with a tiny Jesus crucified on it. Is it the camera angle, or is the crucifix really that much out of proportion?

    • http://PJB says

      The corpus is nearly as tall as the man hanging the cross itself. I don’t think that is “tiny.”

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