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Crews to break ground on Raleigh diocese cathedral in January

Posted November 29, 2014

Artist's sketch of the planned Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh.
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— The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh will break ground in January on a cathedral in southwest Raleigh, officials announced Friday.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral will be at 10 a.m. Jan. 3, and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge will preside over the ceremonies.

The cathedral will still have a 2,000-seat sanctuary, but plans for a fellowship hall, parking garage and a crypt have been shelved to bring the project in line with available funding. 

The revisions helped slash the budget for the project to $41 million, from the $75-plus million estimate Burbidge laid out more than two years ago.

Burbidge held about 400 receptions across the 54-county diocese to build support for the cathedral. Based on feedback from area Catholics gathered during those meetings, the design of the church also has changed to bring people closer to the altar. Using a crucifix design, 1,000 seats will now be in front of the altar, with 500 on either side of it.

"The design will be similar to other cathedrals, in that we are building on a 2,000-year heritage of sacred architecture, James O'Brien, the Arlington, Va.-based architect brought in to handle the revamped project, said in a statement. "At the same time, the cathedral is intended to be a reflection of the values of the faithful of North Carolina, and so it is bound to be unique in that way."

Burbidge said he expects construction on the cathedral to take about two years.

The cathedral will replace Sacred Heart Church, Raleigh's existing cathedral. Built in the early 1920s at the corner of Hillsborough and McDowell streets downtown, Sacred Heart can hold only 320 people and is the smallest Catholic cathedral in the continental U.S.

Burbidge has said that Sacred Heart will remain an active church once the new cathedral is built.


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