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Cathedral dome rises with sun in Raleigh Thursday

Posted March 10

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— Not long after the sun rose over Raleigh Thursday, a copper-gilt dome rose into the sky at the construction site of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral.

Construction supervisors deemed the winds calm enough to lift the 160-ton structure into place just before 8 a.m.

Julie McVay has waited 91 years to see such a site. She was among dozens who drove or walked to the Centennial Parkway site to witness a milestone. The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh is building a new home, and the dome will cap the building designed to hold 2,000 worshippers.

"It's just wonderful to see this glorious cathedral on a hill rise out of the ground," she said. "It's a tremendous engineering feat, but it's very much a religious, holy experience for me."

Bishop Michael Burbidge was also present for the dome's placement.

"This is an incredible day," he said. "How often in our lives are we part of history?"

It took about half an hour for a custom-built crane to lift the dome into position. Construction crews spent most of Thursday securing it in place atop the skeletal structure.

"(It's) pretty amazing that they can move something like that so precisely and be able to drop it in to place," said Wayne Poole.

Cathy Morrissey said, "Engineering-wise, it's amazing to watch something like this."

Morrissey is a regular at the construction site.

"I'm Catholic, and my parish is Cathedral. We stop by on the way home from church every week just to watch the progress," she said.

"In Latin, the word dome comes from domus, which comes from the word for home," Burbidge said. "This is a powerful reminder that this cathedral is home. It's the mother church for all the faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh."

The dome will be topped with a cross and filled with church bells to welcome those worshippers before it opens sometime late in 2017.

Burbidge said the cathedral was designed to last 300 years.


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  • Fanny Chmelar Mar 11, 2016
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    Exactly why it's an eye sore. A reminder of opulence when charity is needed.

    They don't pay taxes along the way. Were they to, it would help with the revenue stream. Instead, we'll never see that money - revenue loss.

  • Shawne Anderson Mar 11, 2016
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    I can't help but wonder what if someone were able to give Jesus a tour of this cathedral, or stand back and point to this dome and say, "Look at what we built to worship you, to honor you." What would he say? I think he would be saddened. I think he would ask how many people could have been helped with the money and resources that went into that show piece. I don't think he would like it or be impressed.

  • Jonathan Barnes Mar 11, 2016
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    They are referring to the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church. But using that line of debate in saying that this building is a tax loss is a stretch. I'm not Catholic either, but when this cathedral is finished it definitely will not be an eye sore - that is unless someone that is offended by everything is looking at it. The renderings of the final product actually look pretty good.

  • Joe Welch Mar 10, 2016
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    Is being used for this PRIVATE project. And I believe the only government support were the building permits... Or is that not allowed?

  • Joe Welch Mar 10, 2016
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    Tax Loss? How so? If you'd bother to reasearch before spouting your usual venom, you'd know not one penny of taxes

  • Fanny Chmelar Mar 10, 2016
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    Such a tax loss for our city. And an ugly eye soree - and soon to be a noisy one, too.

    I'm not sure why such offensive buildings keep getting government support.