Revamped Catholic cathedral nears groundbreaking
Posted May 6, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh hopes to break ground in December on a cathedral in southwest Raleigh after scaling back plans for the project to bring it in line with available funding.
The Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral will still have a 2,000-seat sanctuary, but plans for a fellowship hall, a parking garage and a crypt on the 39-acre former site of Cardinal Gibbons High School, off Western Boulevard, have been shelved for now. The revisions helped slash the budget for the project to $41 million, from the $75-plus million estimate Bishop Michael Burbidge laid out 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."
The diocese has already raised $30.4 million toward the construction cost, and officials plan to raise the remaining $10.6 million through major gifts and naming rights to various elements of the complex.
Burbidge said he expects construction on the cathedral to take about two years.
"It is my daily hope and prayer that our new cathedral will be a source of spiritual inspiration and strength for people now and for generations to come as we continue this earthly pilgrimage and until that day we all meet again in our heavenly home," he said in a statement.
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.