.- Under the motto “from Crystal to Christocentric,” southern California's famous Crystal Cathedral is undergoing a renovation that the local bishop calls “a thorough Christological transformation.”
The world's great cathedrals “are designed to bring the light of God to people’s daily life; the cathedral is a place that draws, welcomes, calls, and sends forth at the same time,” said Bishop Kevin W. Vann of the Diocese of Orange.
“This is the goal of the Christ Cathedral: being at the same time a place for the exercise of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy,” he remarked Aug. 2 at the Napa Institute Conference – the theme of which was “Building a Catholic Culture.”
The Orange diocese purchased the 3,000-seat Crystal Cathedral in February of 2012 from the Protestant church which founded it. The architectural landmark is made from over 10,000 panes of glass, and its interior must be renovated to make it suitable for Catholic worship.
“Building a cathedral is a challenge and an opportunity,” Bishop Vann said, who went on to explain that a cathedral must express the unity of the local Church and the centrality of the ministry of the bishop, especially in his role in the sanctification of his people.
Bishop Vann said that numerous aspects of the current building, including its central location in Orange, its easy access by public transportation, and a vast space to foster community, contribute to accomplish the goal of making the cathedral the very center of the spiritual life of the local Church.
Tim Busch, co-chair of the financial committee assured that “we will redesign the main building to comply with our Catholic liturgical tradition and needs. It will be a demanding challenge, but one we are seriously committed to.”
Since being acquired by Orange diocese, the building has been re-named Christ Cathedral.
Cindy Bobruk, executive director of the Orange Catholic Foundation, said that it will be “a cathedral that becomes a beacon of Catholic culture, Catholic education, and evangelization.”
The future cathedral contains the fourth largest church organ in the world, valued at $25 million. It is due to be dismantled and shipped to Italy for renovation, and then re-installed.
The Crystal Cathedral campus consists of seven building on 34 acres, and will have room for several permanent fixtures, including a school, space for cultural events, and place for prayer and Eucharistic Adoration.
It will house the diocesan chancery, which will be established on the property by October.
The oldest building on the campus, known as the “Arboretum,” was the first to be renovated. It was brought to conformity with current safety and building standards. The renovation, which included a new air conditioning system, was completed in 150 days.
The campus was purchased for $57.5 million under Bishop Vann's predecessor, Bishop Tod Brown. The purchase was made after Crystal Cathedral had filed for bankruptcy in Oct., 2010 when some of its creditors sued for payment.
The Orange diocese is the tenth most populous in the U.S., home to some 1.2 million Catholics.