Cathedral campus repairs are pressing needs
Thursday, 16 September 2010 14:39
A Conversation with Bishop Michael O. Jackels
I often draw parallels between what happens in most family homes and what happens in our Catholic family. And one of the parallels is the fact that in any home, there is work that has to be done. And those family chores that I've identified certainly do not make an exhaustive list, but right now they are needs.
There is a need to be able to make more and larger grants to parishes to help in their efforts at faith formation whether it's through the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund or the St. Maria De Mattias Endowment.
We are blessed by God with a good number of vocations to the priesthood. We have 48 seminarians studying for our Diocese, and the happy chore associated with that is being able to pay their education costs.
The third chore for our diocesan family is to repair and update the Cathedral church and some of the other buildings on the campus.
Each chore is unique, but the first two – faith formation and the education of seminarians – those needs are ongoing. There will never come a time when we say, "Ok, we don't need to worry about faith formation anymore and no need to have seminarians to send off and to educate to be formed."
But the repair and update of our Cathedral campus is pressing. I'm looking out my window right now, and they've already started to do work on the roof because if we don't do something right now, the building will continue to further deteriorate. Regardless of how much money I am able to raise to benefit the Cathedral and the other buildings, we have to do this.
Like the roof, there are areas that need to be repaired. There are safety concerns that have to be addressed. The choir loft makes me nervous whenever I look at it. And some parts of the old Cathedral High School should not be used until they are fixed.
And there are some parts, like the choir loft or the upper floors of the old high school or the even the sanctuary, that people cannot get to if they are confined to a wheelchair or have difficulty making steps.
This is significant for all of us because the Cathedral is more than a parish church. It is the mother church of all the Catholics in the Diocese. Ideally we would all worship there every Sunday with the bishop at Mass. But when distances make that impossible, we establish other parish churches. And so in that sense other parish churches are born from the Cathedral.
Our Cathedral is more than just a church, and the other buildings are more than just spaces. They too symbolize who we are and what we do.
We are a people who acknowledge God and all that we have, can, can do and are comes from God. And so as a consequence of that, we gather in church to worship and give thanks to God and also to reflect what we do outside of church. We learn and teach Christ to others, and we serve others in one form or another: helping them to learn English and helping them with their immigration papers or helping them with emergency assistance – food and otherwise – helping to enrich their marriages…. We could go on and on.
This is what we do because of who we are, and these buildings are places where that service takes place. These buildings are symbols of who we are and what we do. They should reflect the vigor and the beauty of the Church in our Diocese. And they should be a place of righteous pride for us.
Obviously we can only do as much as we are able with the money that the people of the Diocese gratefully and generously and sacrificially share for that purpose. But while any amount for faith formation or religious education is going to be helpful, it is more than what we had before and will enable us to do more, and more is better. But with regard to the Cathedral and the other buildings on its campus, we have a pretty clear idea of how much we need in order to do all that is needed.
We will only do what we have the money to carry out, but hopefully people will see the importance of it, and they will respond to the invitation and make a sacrificial gift in support of all of these family chores, but especially to take care of our family home, our diocesan Cathedral, the mother church of our Diocese.