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Cathedral dome rises with sun in Raleigh Thursday

With the placement of a 160-ton dome, the outline of Holy Name of Jesus cathedral in Raleigh came into focus.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — 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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