Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back in the Cathedral, again

We attended mass at Holy Name Cathedral today. Would have gone last week for the first mass since the church opened after the fire in February, but we had an appointment with a steam engine. As pastor Dan Mayall said a few weeks ago, the place indeed has never looked better. Every inch of the cathedral was polished to the extreme, the shine and the smell of wax and wood polish were almost overwhelming.

One new element I noticed was the seal of the Archbishop of Chicago above the bishop's chair, the cathedra at the very front of the church. I suppose it was deemed appropriate to add a little pizzaz to the ambulatory which was reduced to remarkable blandness after the removal of the main altar during the major renovation in 1969, but I found the seal to be a little distracting and unnecessary.*

Other than that, the experience was breathtaking. The place was packed, the small choir was in good form and even the congregation sang with vigor, for Catholics anyway.

For me the most poignant part was the fact that the celebrant this morning was Bishop Timothy Lyne, who celebrated the very first mass I attended at Holy Name some 35 years ago. It's good to see that some things never change!

There is still work to be done on the 134 year old church but it is truly a time for the entire city to celebrate the reopening of this remarkable building.

*The seal was gone as of August 16th

2 comments: said...

Somehow between Hadid and Van Berkel and Piano and Lollapalooza I missed the Cathedral's re-opening. It's always the important stuff that slips away so easily.

Thanks for the post.

Jim Iska said...

As always, thanks for reading. Welcome back to town!