On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, the great festal doors of our beautiful new cathedral were opened for the first time, and so began the solemn Mass of the Dedication of Christ Cathedral. A cathedral symbolizes that as a Church we carry out the mission of Jesus not as individuals, nor as individual parishes, but as a community of faith whose unity is signified in the gathering of the bishop and the people. That is exactly what we have done during this year since Christ Cathedral was dedicated.
Before the state-mandated closing of churches for public Masses in March, 2020, tens of thousands of people from around the world have been welcomed into our new cathedral. It has been so inspiring to see people from a multitude of cultures, and of all ages, eager to experience the beauty of the Liturgy and the magnificence of the renovated cathedral. Perhaps such an influx of people, most of whom were obviously moved by their experience, was a preparation for being able to withstand the void of many weeks of not being able to gather in person for Mass because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the seven months we were open to the public, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving Mass, our first Christmas and our first Ash Wednesday. The sight and sounds of the cathedral filled to its capacity of over 2,300 during the Masses on these occasions and at many Sunday Masses has stirred the heart. A Church alive and well has been the testimony of Christ Cathedral this past year, making the sacrifices and generosity of the thousands of people who helped the cathedral and its campus become a reality very much worth the effort.
From the very beginning, we have wanted Christ Cathedral to be to be a place where people can come, renew their spirits and know they are loved by God. These months since our opening have turned that desire into a reality. Though closed for a while, our gradual reopening holds the promise that we can continue to be that place. At the same time, in these difficult times, whether at home or at the cathedral, all of us need to stop often and listen for the consoling and wise words of Christ, in whose name our cathedral stands.
Christ Cathedral is a sacred space that has been nourished by the thousands and thousands of people who have walked its grounds, worshipped within its walls and prayed in the silence of its beauty. As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the dedication of the country’s newest cathedral, together in faith may we continue to make Christ Cathedral a place for Christ forever.