As the Cathedral of Christ the Light rises in the Bay Area see-city, one can be forgiven if "Star Trek" comes to mind.
Acclaimed for its "ambitious" design, the 1,500-seat mother church of the 500,000-member diocese -- price tag: $190 million -- will open its doors on 25 September 2008.
Father Paul Minnihan, provost of the cathedral, said the planning team selected the date to avoid conflicts with such weekend events as weddings and quincieneras. The group also considered an evening event, but decided an afternoon would allow for the possibility of a procession to the cathedral from another venue. “Safety was a concern,” he said....in related news, in the hometown of the Cardinal of the South, work's even further along on Houston's $61 million Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, with dedication slated to take place next 2 April.
He said the planning group also “seriously weighed the reality of the members of our diocese who work, but we placed our hope in their ability to take time away from work as we do when there are significant events in our lives.”
Two other dedication-related events have been planned.
On Sunday, Sept. 14 at 2 p.m. there will be a ceremony opening the cornerstone of St. Francis de Sales Church, which was set at 21st Street and San Pablo Avenue in Oakland on Sept. 13, 1891. The church became the first cathedral of the Oakland Diocese when it was established in 1962.
The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake severely damaged the cathedral and it had to be torn down. The new cathedral at the corner of Grand Avenue and Harrison Street is its replacement.
On Sunday Nov. 2, the feast of All Souls, the mausoleum underneath the new cathedral will be dedicated at 2 p.m. At that time, the remains of Oakland’s first bishop, Floyd Begin, will be re-interred. He is currently buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward.
Built to provide a suitable hub for the South's largest local church, odds are that consecration duties for the 2,000-seater will likely fall to the project's visionary: the first archbishop of Texas' mother diocese, Joseph Fiorenza.
As a priest of Galveston-Houston in the '60s, Fiorenza served eight years as administrator of the new cathedral's nearby predecessor. With his successor's blessing, the retired prelate has kept principal oversight of the building effort since stepping down last year.
PHOTO 1: John Blaustein/Oakland Catholic Voice
PHOTO 2: Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston