Sioux Falls celebrates restoration of St. Joseph Cathedral

The Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota recently celebrated the interior restoration of its Cathedral of St. Joseph, completing a 15-year effort to bring classical beauty back to the nearly century-old worship space.

“This is not the end but rather the beginning of a new day for the Cathedral of St. Joseph as a place to see beauty, learn about the faith, and draw closer to God,” said Sioux Falls Bishop Paul J. Swain, who welcomed worshipers and visitors after blessing the restored cathedral's doors on July 25.

The formal dedication of the cathedral's new altar took place the next day, along with the dedication of other parts of the sanctuary including the crucifix, tabernacle, and the bishop's chair (or “cathedra”). Bishop Swain said both events were “wonderful opportunities to worship and give thanks to God for this sacred and restored cathedral.”

Former Sioux Falls bishop and current St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson attended the dedication, witnessing the completion of the redesign that he initiated during his leadership of the diocese. Bishop Donald J. Kettler of Fairbanks, Alaska, who is a former rector of the cathedral, also attended the ceremony.

“We are celebrating and giving thanks to God,” Bishop Swain said, “and to all who have so generously supported not only these two years of interior restoration, but all that has been done over the last 15 years.” The Cathedral of St. Joseph had been closed since 2009, and its parish Masses relocated elsewhere, to make way for the changes.

In addition to the artistic overhaul, designed by the acclaimed architect Duncan G. Stroik, the $16.2 million project also included extensive building maintenance and structural work, along with the complete replacement of the church's electrical wiring, sound system, lights, heating and air conditioning.

Stroik based his redesign on the original plans of Bishop Thomas O'Gorman – who dedicated the cathedral in 1919 – and architect Emmanuel Masqueray.

Among Stroik's most notable decisions was the re-painting of the cathedral's walls, which lost their original rich ornamentation in favor of a whitewashing during the 1970s.

Stroik also commissioned reproductions of the carved wooden confessional booths that were removed from the cathedral during the same period, and replaced the monochromatic stone tile floor with marble.

The re-opened worship space will host a number of significant events in the coming months, including a priestly ordination on Aug. 4, the premier concert in its “Sacred Arts Series” on Sept. 2, a gathering of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre on Sept. 16, and a Marian conference on Oct. 1.

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