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Diocese of Raleigh cathedral taking shape, on track for completion

Posted February 28
Updated March 8

2/27: The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh's new cathedral is on track to be completed by fall 2017.
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— The new cathedral being built off Western Boulevard by the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh is long overdue.

Billy Atwell, the communication director for the diocese, said the current parish in downtown Raleigh was built to hold 320 people, which was outgrown by the 1940s. The parish now holds 11 masses each weekend to accommodate everyone.

The new $41 million Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, wedged between Western Boulevard and Centennial Parkway just southwest of downtown, will seat 2,000 people. Atwell said the project is still on track to be completed by fall 2017.

"We have some little weather delays here and there," Atwell said. "But it's been really phenomenal about getting back on the horse and getting things moving."

At the end of February, the steel skeleton of the cathedral towered over Centennial Parkway on its south side, and a huge dome was taking shape on the ground. That dome will eventually perch on top of the cathedral, though moving the 160-ton structure will take some careful planning and a special crane.

"To place the dome is not a two-hour project," Atwell said. "It's like a 24-hour project. Maybe more. It's a really enormous project."

As the walls are being built, the stained glass windows are in the process of being restored. More than three dozen windows were pulled out of church that closed in Philadelphia, but that's a tedious process in itself.

Atwell said each piece of glass has to be removed from the lead window frame, cleaned and replaced. There are at least 500,000 pieces of glass in the salvaged windows alone. Raleigh's new cathedral will also sport 50 original stained glass windows, which are being made by the same company that's restoring the old windows.

The windows from Philadelphia were made by a German artist. Saving the windows, Atwell said, was an important way to preserve a piece of history.

"It's an opportunity to rescue Catholic art history," Atwell said. "There's not many opportunities to build a cathedral."

12 Comments

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  • Joseph Heel Feb 29, 2016
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    Not sure how someone selling the home they live in daily is the same as a church spending a lot of money to build a place worship once or twice a week. Nobody said don't build a church. They said don't spend 41 million on a church when you could spend it on more charitable actions.

  • Ron Yorgason Feb 29, 2016
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    It's a sad day when being respectful of someone else's beliefs practically qualifies someone for sainthood. I'm also amused how many people think they get to decide who is and isn't a Christian. "Well, I'm clearly a Christian, and that person's beliefs are a little bit different than mine, so they _can't_ be Christian!" *sigh*

  • Bryan Cohn Feb 28, 2016
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    Boy....... this article generated a great deal of "pearl clutching" and underlying hatred of religion/people/ideas etc. etc. (Wayne and Jim)
    If the church wants to build the Cathedral on land they already own, who cares. If the previous sanctuary can only hold 300 to 400 people per mass and the new sanctuary can hold 2000 seems like a pretty good return on investment to me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Mark Colyer Feb 28, 2016
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    ...Catholics aren't Christians, they believe in works, not faith. Do some research please.

  • Mark Colyer Feb 28, 2016
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    ...Is this Mother Teresa?

  • Doug Smallen Feb 28, 2016
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    Do some research before you spout your Liberal thoughts, it's the old cardinal Gibbons High School site, and no, thousands of trees where not cut!

  • Wayne Rossignol Feb 28, 2016
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    I live in a meager home. They are spending the parishioners money...poor and rich alike.

  • Ron Yorgason Feb 28, 2016
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    This looks like it will be a beautiful addition to the city. I hope it enables more Catholics to join together and worship. I'm not Catholic myself, but I respect the services they provide throughout the country. Believers of God have always tried to build the most beautiful buildings as symbols of their devotion and the greatness of God. The tabernacle in the wilderness was built with the best material they had available and could transport, and then Solomon's Temple when they were better established.

    People may complain how the money is being spent, but I don't see them selling their home and giving their money to the poor either. I've always been amazed at people who criticize how others spend their money.

  • Jim Smith Feb 28, 2016
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    Completely agree! $41 million, yet the Catholic religion like so many others who are granted tax-free status still involve themselves in politics and will ask you to continue to turn out your pockets into the offering plate on Sunday mornings and discard all your worldly belongings. Separation of Church and State? I think not. I don't think God or Jesus was about all of that do as I say not as I do. $41 million; really?!

  • Wayne Rossignol Feb 28, 2016
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    Allison your wisdom and truth you write are to be commended! Well stated. Outstanding! Scott, you are the one who displays your total IGNORANCE. You need a 41 milllion "structure" to worship. Give me a break FOOL. I was once a practicing Catholic...NO MORE! The church ranks side by side with Franklin Graham's MEGA CHURCH. No longer is IT practicing what a true Christian should be and DO. Guess you are unable to swallow the "truth".

    Being from the south gives you bragging rights?? What sheer imbeciles...guess it stems from years of incest. THE DNA 'ain't' too good.

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