Personal Reflections: September 2008 Archives

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Many bloggers who write from a distance have the audacity to judge a building based on pictures and news reports. Both Whispers and the American Papist are young catholics who seem to make gossip their hobby, and they are host to many comments calling the Cathedral hideous, and a monstrosity. Well, last Thursday I was a participant in one of the most beautiful liturgies I have ever been part of. It was an amazing event.

First of all, the building sings. The acoustics are wonderful andf the sound of singing in the place is worthy of any cathedral.

Secondly, the heart of any worship space is the people. No one who was there had a single word of complaint.

Yes, I am a bit more traditional. This might not have been what I would have built. But I believe this is a place for the ages, and future ages will judge it differently after it has had years of experience. Cathedrals are built over hundreds of years.

But for now, at the dawn of the 21st century, the Cathedral of Christ the light is the jewel of Oakland.

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One of my favorite moments at the dedication was the anointing of the altar and the wallls. There are twelve candles that circle the cathedral and each one is labeled with the name of an apostle. During the dedication the walls were anointed with chrism.

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I love the Stations of the Cross at the Cathedral. They are the work of the same artist that rendered the Crucifix and the Statue of Mary. They are at the level where they can be handled by the people as they are making the way of the cross. I would love to witness these bronze stations in a hundred years after they have been made smooth by the devotion of generations of people.

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The art in the Cathedral is beautiful. This modern creation has the Diocesan patron St. Francis De Sales holding the first cathedral, and St. Joseph holding Mission San Jose.

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This image of the return from Egypt is in the Holy Family Chapel.

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The Cathedral makes use of Natural Light. This can bee seen in this amage of the Cathedra, the Bishop's Throne.

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The baptismal font has water from the Jordan river, from St. Peter in Rome, from Lourdes, from Lake Merritt, and from the fonts of all the parishes in the diocese.

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The Ambry:

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The altar is surrounded by four large Candles. The Ambo rises from the Choir. The Crucifix towers over the Ambo.

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The midday sun fills the Cathedral with natural light. The space is warm and inviting.

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The Eucharistic Chapel:

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The Mausoleum is beneath the Cathedral. The altar from the old cathedral is directly below the main altar. This is where the Casket is placed for the Rite of Committal. Light from the Cathedral bathes the Mausoleum with light.

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The image of Christ in Glory, an image over the door in the Chartres Cathedral, towers over the altar. It is nearly 60 feet tall in the 90 foot Omega Window and is made from 94,000 small holes digitally placed in the metal and then covered with glass. Sitting in the pews it seems as if the image is projected on the screen. This, I believe, is to become the signature image of this Cathedral. A Photograph does not do it justice. To stand in the cathedral is to lift up your eyes to this wondrous image of Christ the teacher reigning in Glory. An immature blogger from the other coast disrespectfully called this "whatever that is."

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A lot of the criticism of the so called American Papist who has little respect for the teaching office of the church stemmed from an inaccurate and unfair article in the New York Time about a healing garden that was initiated by victims of sexual abuse from priests in this diocese. They designed it. It is not finished yet and will be ready for its dedication in October. Here we see a CNN reporter sitting in the garden. He was there to do interviews about the cathedral, but their report is mainly on this garden, because the media seems only able to focus on that scene.

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The light of heaven, the light of Christ; when looking up it appears that the heavens are about to open.

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The Alpha Window:

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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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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Personal Reflections category from September 2008.

Personal Reflections: July 2008 is the previous archive.

Personal Reflections: October 2008 is the next archive.

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