On 2 April 2008, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will dedicate a new co-cathedral in Houston with 60 bishops attending. The new cathedral has a cruciform shape, and seating for 1,820. The altar will contain relics of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint, St. Leo the Great, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.
Wikipedia has a few details on the design process, including a few familiar principals:
Designed by Ziegler Cooper Architects , The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is steeped in both history and faith. To begin the design process, the design team immersed themselves in the rich history and architecture of cathedrals by traveling to Europe to visit scores of cathedrals.* Three essential design qualities emerged from this study and lie at the heart of the new cathedral.
- Transcendence – the wonder, power, and awe of God which is experienced in one’s first step into the cathedral.
- Verticality – the cathedral literally soars to heaven as a prayer in stone praising the omnipotence of God.
- Natural light – expressing peace, serenity, and spiritual joy.
* Design trip to Europe – Father Hilton please note.
Designing and raising funds for this project have taken 10 years. The site includes a 140-foot-tall bell tower housing 23 bells and standing beside the building. The co-cathedral cost $39 million, plus $10 million for interior artwork. The bell tower cost about $2 million. A $2.2 million organ is being made and is scheduled to be installed in 2010.
More good links to see include:
- Rocco at Whispers in the Loggia has some background and a great video.
- More video at ABC affiliate Channel 13 Houston.
- The Houston Chronicle has a beautiful slide show and other coverage.
Why is a “co-cathedral”? Wikipedia answers:
Due to the tremendous growth in the City of Houston, in 1959 the Most Reverend Wendelin J. Nold, fifth bishop of the Galveston Diocese, was permitted by Rome to erect a Cathedral of convenience in Houston and Sacred Heart Church, built in 1911, was named co-cathedral. This did not change the status of the City of Galveston as an episcopal see city, however it did permit full pontifical ceremonies to be held in Houston, as well as Galveston. Both Cathedrals are coequal in rank; however, since St. Mary’s is the original Cathedral for the State of Texas, it has the distinction of being the Mother Cathedral for all the Catholic dioceses in Texas.
Click to see the Houston Chronicle video
Update 6 April:
See my “Statues of Houston” post for more on the Co-cathedral.