Saturday, March 29, 2008

All Done

Already hailed as "a Houston landmark," yesterday saw the first official preview of the city's new Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, which'll be dedicated on Wednesday before 60 hierarchs and a very lucky crowd of close to 2,000.

To mark the occasion -- which the regional media has treated as an earth-altering event and then some -- today's hometown Chronicle contains a full package on the festivities.

As Cardinal Daniel DiNardo consecrates the $65 million de facto hub of his 1.5 million-member archdiocese, Texas' oldest and the largest in the South, fellow neo-porporato Cardinal John Foley will be present... in the friendly confines of the commentator's booth.

Yet even for all the red in evidence -- and the local hopes that Purple Rain will fall during the celebrations -- Dedication Day will rightfully belong to the project's "mastermind": founding Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, a native son and once a curate at the heretofore co-cathedral, who said in an interview that the "tremendous [i.e quadruple] growth of the archdiocese in the last two decades" necessitated "a new cathedral that would be sufficiently large for us to gather a large number of our people for the important moments in the life of the church." But even so, despite all the pizazz of the new building, the paper reminds that the official seat of the booming local church remains 50 miles south, in "the cradle" of Texas Catholicism: Galveston's St Mary's Basilica.

The first US mother-church to be dedicated since LA's Our Lady of the Angels in 2002, the Houston cathedral is one of two opening its doors this year; the other, Oakland's Christ the Light, will be inaugurated in late September.

Never to be outdone, the Chron's coverage is capped by an extensive photo gallery from über-photog Smiley Pool, who memorably gave the Vatican shutterbugs quite a run for their money during DiNardo's Thanksgiving Weekend elevation to the "papal senate."

Sia lodato Smiley... and congrats to everyone in H-Town.

SVILUPPO: In its Sunday editions, the paper adds an in-depth graphic detailing the building's aspects, a chron of its construction process... and the video you now see above.

VIDEO: Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle