After several years of planning and construction, virtually every nook and cranny of the “Mother Church” of our diocese has been carefully refurbished. The result is stunning: Our Cathedral is a brighter place, offering more intimacy for community worship and more amenities to the thousands who will visit each year. It is my hope and prayer that each of you will be able to come see for yourself in the weeks and months ahead the wonderful work the many tradespeople and artisans have performed inside and out – from the fresh new paint that highlights the Cathedral’s intricate detail to the absolute gem that is our new Eucharistic Chapel, a place of honor befitting the tabernacle and well-suited for private devotion.
Besides such practical and much-overdue modern additions as new lighting, parking, restrooms and a large community-gathering area, I am sure you will share my appreciation of the way the designers have linked old and new. You will see this in the lovingly restored stained glass and in new arched niches that house the old statues of St. Joseph and St. John Fisher, as well as a new one – a majestic Holy Mother and Infant Jesus.
You’ll see history vividly in the new Eucharistic Chapel, the ceiling of which depicts the night sky on March 3, 1868, the day the Diocese of Rochester was formed. The centerpiece of the Eucharistic Chapel will be an enhanced tabernacle from the old St. Philip Neri Church, which burned in 1967. The fire took the lives of Father George J. Weinmann and Sister Lillian Marie as they attempted to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament. The sides of the tabernacle will be adorned with artwork from the tabernacle of the long-gone St. Patrick’s Cathedral downtown, which is also the source of a carefully preserved wooden canopy, called a baldachin.
Too, I am sure you will find breathtaking from earlier days at Sacred Heart the rood beam and crucifix that now spans the north end of the church. And, once the weather turns a little warmer, I know you will enjoy a contemplative stroll through two small parks that will add a lovely touch to the Maplewood neighborhood.
Again, I welcome you to come and worship. I know you will feel as blessed as I to have a Cathedral of which we can be so proud.
-From Bishop Matthew H. Clark’s Letter