So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Friday, May 2, 2014

Diocese of Orange | Christ Cathedral update


That's right—as of January 2014 nearly $81 million has been raised toward the renewal of the former Crystal Cathedral, now Christ Cathedral, property and buildings purchased (for a real bargain!) by the Diocese of Orange, California!

That's $20 million short of their goal. Nevertheless, way to go donors! Such generosity and enthusiasm!

My wish list for the renovations.

First, things 'to do':
  1. a huge, realistic-looking crucifix. Go big! Unless they construct a massive reredos fitting for such a grand space, or the "apse" behind the organ can be accessed, the crucifix will probably have to be suspended. Imagine the crucifix attached to the building structure itself. Since there is no back wall, it would have to be mounted at the joint directly behind the organ which would likely necessitate a lot of reinforcement. That massive pipe organ—due for restoration—presents quite the "threat" to the organization of the sanctuary. Reasons to move the organ/relocate the pipes?—the lesser of two evils: move the organ from what is probably an ideal acoustic location, and live with associated acoustic problems, while returning the focus of the sanctuary to the altar and clearing sight lines to the crucifix. How about moving the organ and choir to the loft (reinforced, if necessary), i.e., the central second tier seating area facing the present location of the organ?
  2. Central tabernacle (embedded in that grand reredos!). Please, may it be so!
  3. Get rid of the aqueduct running the length of the central ground level aisle. Construct a real baptismal chapel.
  4. Iconography: really massive tapestries of high quality.
  5. Stained glass. Hey, the whole building is glass. How about inserting a few dozen panels that combine to present the face of Christ? Though, not like the image used to ghostly effect in the Oakland Diocese inverted basket of a cathedral. Our Lady of Guadalupe? Saint Joseph?
  6. Confessionals - lots of them; not made of glass. Opaque (frosted) glass windows in the doors, perhaps.
  7. Change the lighting instruments. Get rid of the overhead suspended rigging and install some concealed fixtures that can be appropriately targeted. I understand that the rigging was necessary for the large pageants staged in the building under the former owners. Since a sanctuary in the Catholic sense is not a stage, perhaps the lighting fixtures can be retained and repurposed in a discreet manner.
  8. Elevated sanctuary with a beautiful altar that also permits ad orientem worship.
  9. Tall appointments and furnishings: candlesticks, Paschal Candle. See point #4 below—cathedra.
  10. An imposing ambo/pulpit. Go old school and have it elevated and thrust out toward the congregation!
Secondly, the 'don'ts':
  1. No jumbotron video screens.
  2. No curved seating arrangement on the ground level floor.
  3. No chapel of the Eucharist. No hiding the Blessed Sacrament in some closet off to the side or in another building. See point #2 above.
  4. No goofy cathedra. A big space requires a big cathedra for the bishop, a successor of the Apostles.
  5. No abstract stained glass. Realistic images only! See point #5 above.
  6. No "thrust" sanctuary.
  7. Except perhaps down the central aisle of the nave, no carpeting, especially in the sanctuary.

I'm not really expecting anyone in the Diocese of Orange to listen to me. Why would they? That's why the above is referred to as a "wish list" and not a list of demands, the latter being pretentious and somewhat presumptuous.

It'll be interesting to see how and where the bishop will anoint the cathedral. The anointing of the altar and the cathedral will make for one grand celebration. Let's hope the Rev. Robert Schuller is on hand.

+ + +

Interesting tidbit. Speaking of Robert Schuller, he once met with John Paul II to have the future saint bless the design plans for the then Crystal Cathedral. Perhaps that blessing of Almighty God, worked through the prayers of John Paul II, brought home the cathedral to the Catholic Church. At the very least, the meeting seems to have made a lasting impression on the Rev. Schuller who lobbied in favour of the Diocese of Orange's bid. Thank you, Dr. Schuller, for your gift to the Catholic Church!

May that blessing requested by Saint John Paul II continue to bear much fruit!


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