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Raleigh Cathedral celebrates first Christmas Eve Mass

Posted December 24, 2017 10:55 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT

— The Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh celebrated its first Christmas Eve Masses Sunday evening.

Years in the making, the $46 million cathedral off Western Boulevard ia now the home church of the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, covering 54 counties in central and eastern North Carolina.

"This is holy ground," said former Bishop Michael Burbidge, who first announced plans for the cathedral six years ago. "Everything in this building – everything – is designed to lift people's hearts and souls to God."

Catholic cathedral takes shape in Raleigh

The Cathedral holds around 2,000 people, six times more than its predecessor, Sacred Heart in Downtown Raleigh.

"And it's time to try to bring peace into the world and to pray for peace, and that's exactly what we want," Parishioner Denis Burke said.

More than 2,000 people spilled off the pews into the hallways.

"Last year we had the small Cathedral Downtown, and he had, let's see, we had fitness masses. We had to rent stuff at the Holiday Inn, the ballroom, we had 300 people there, we were in the cellar of the school," Father Justin Kerber, C.P. said.

Several Masses merged into one this year.

"I was very lifted up as I was saying the Mass. I felt very close to God actually, and I felt all of their praises going up to God," Kerber said.

Kerber said the Cathedral is a symbol that the Catholic Church has "arrived" in North Carolina.