Cathedral of Christ the Light

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In the past year I have had several opportunities to see the new Cathedral up close. Bishop Vigneron gave us a tour with hard hats nearly a year ago, but last week I was able to stand inside the nearly complete cathedral and witness its beauty.

I served at the old Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales 1989 to 1991 as the Director of the Choir. Now standing inside the new Cathedral I can say it is a big improvement.

Pictures do not really do the place justice. But still, that will not prevent me with sharing a few pictures of it.

The exterior of the building does not do much for me. Standing nearby it seems like a solid wall of glass that disappears in the clouds, without form or substance. It is only in standing back, across the lake that you see the building's purpose. The banks and office buildings dot the landscape, and this sits among them as a shining jewel, a lantern, that stands out from these square buildings with its own unique shape, The name, Christ the Light, really fits this picture.

Inside, though, the light on the natural wood is warm and inviting. The awesome image of Christ in Glory from Chartres towers over the congregation. Walking inside your eyes are instantly drawn upward by this imposing image and by the light streaming various places in the building.

Yesterday, after the morning Masses we headed to Oakland for the Festival of Light. We parked near the new cathedral and then waited for buses to take us to the site of the former Cathedral.

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There we were led in prayer by the retired Bishop, Bishop John Cummins, and by Bishop Allen Vigneron. Standing near Bishop Vigneron is Fr. Paul Minnehan, the Cathedral Provost.

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Then the procession proceeded eight blocks to the new Cathedral. Each Parish had a banner with its parish name on it, and a parish representative carrying a pitcher of Holy Water from the Baptismal Font at our parish.

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The procession of banners:

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Procession of Holy Water:

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Water from Lake Merritt, from the font of St. Peter in Rome, from the Jordan River and from Lourdes were mixed with water from the fonts of the 84 parishes in the Diocese.

pouring the holy water:

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Blessing the Crucifix:

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The Crucifix:

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Bishop Vigneron speaks with the congregation after the final blessing. Pictured near him is retired Bisho[p John Cummins.

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The interior:

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Looking at all your pictures from Rome in such close proximity to these photos leaves me less than enthusiastic about the design of this new cathedral. I guess I'll have to take your word for it and see it in person -- I plan to be there in January.

Fr. Jeff,
This is one time we wish we could be in two places at once: Oakland and Roma. Tuesday we arrived and attended 5pm Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. It was in Latin with Italian readings/homily. No cup. :( However, still a beautiful experience. Yesterday, coincidentally, we too drank of the water at St. Peter's. We also visited the burial place of John Paul II. Today we visited Sta Maria di Trivoli and prayed at St. Gaspar's tomb. The Trevi Fountain plaza was so crowded it was hard to walk through. Weather has been sunny and bright--just beautiful. Tonight we walked to a local restaurant and they kept feeding us. Tomorrow we will try to find your favorite restaurant. Ciao! Maria Elena and Dave

While researching the Omega window I came upon your site. It was most informative and the pictures are truly beautiful. I was at
the first Sunday mass yesterday and the people truly make this cathedral shine.

Fr. Jeff, good reportage. I was on hand as the flag bearer from St. Patrick. The cathedral is different, as it should be. I don't want my cathedral to look like St. Patrick in NY or Sta. Maria Maggiore, or any other. Each should be unique, and this one truly is. Inside, it soars, outside, it loses some of it's appeal, but as eveery Catholic should know, it's what's inside that counts. God Bless you

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on September 15, 2008 3:31 PM.

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