Local News

Cornerstone set in Raleigh cathedral

Posted July 21, 2017 7:02 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2017 10:11 p.m. EDT

— Five days before the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh dedicates the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in a special Mass, two workers on Friday set the cornerstone near the entrance to the 2,000-seat church.

Former Bishop Michael Burbidge, who first envisioned a new cathedral for Raleigh several years ago, took the cornerstone with him to the Vatican in December 2015 to be blessed by Pope Francis.

Juan Ibarra, one of the workers who slipped the cornerstone into place over a time capsule, said the task was both joyful and stressful.

"Seeing all of those cameras, I had to pray to make sure I didn't mess up," Ibarra said. "It's just a great honor knowing that a guy like him – a holy man like him – touched that, and I get the privilege to put it up. It just means everything to me."

The time capsule contains a crucifix, a rosary and items from Cardinal Gibbons High School students. The cathedral sits on the high school's former site off Western Boulevard.

As workers were hurriedly finishing work inside the $46 million cathedral before next Wednesday's dedication Mass, an organist practiced the opening hymn.

Michael Accurso, musical director for the diocese, wrote the hymn at Burbidge's request.

"I was very honored and humbled that he asked me,"Accurso said.

He said he initially labored over the lyrics before settling on a piece of Psalm 145.

"I will praise your name forever, my king and my God, drawing on the name of the building," he said.

Both Ibarra and Accurso said they hope to attend the dedication, saying working on the cathedral and the music has been a humbling experience.

"It makes me emotional. I don't know how I'll keep it together," Accurso said.