Now, seven years later, Bishop Vann believes they've succeeded.
"We've actually made a Catholic space out of all this, with a lot of good will, a lot of study, a lot of prayer, a lot of work, a lot of discussions, a lot of meetings."
Weekly meetings, to be exact. And Bishop Vann attended each of them.
"The bottom line was, I have to sign off on all these things," he said. "It's my responsibility before God to make sure we're good stewards of what God has given us for the people of the diocese. So I really had to be vigilant and to really be involved in it."
One of the most noticeable changes is the addition of an altar, crafted from stone and marble Bishop Vann selected in Italy.
Bishop Vann and the architects wanted the altar to be the major focal point of the space. Previously, the focal point was a massive, brown, wooden organ.
"We painted it (the organ) white so it would blend in," Jennison said. "Your attention is drawn to the altar, which as Catholics that's where it's supposed to be."
Underneath the altar is a bronze reliquary, designed by Brother William Woeger of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Bishop Vann will install relics of St. John Paul II and St. Junipero Serra, along with several Mexican, North American, Vietnamese, and Korean martyrs.
The relics will be available for veneration the evening before the cathedral's dedication.
Another noticeable change is the addition of 11,000 "quatrefoils" to the glass panes that make up the walls and ceiling of the cathedral. Each quatrefoil is made of four triangles, situated at various angles to deflect UV rays and heat, help with acoustics, and disperse better the light from outside.
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"From the inside, it filters the light. From the outside, it makes the structure look like a box of stars at night," Jennison said.
The quatrefoils are a favorite feature of Christ Cathedral's rector, Fr. Christopher Smith.
"I really think it's kind of ethereal, I think it's comforting, I think it's peaceful, I think it lends itself to worship," Fr. Smith said.
The quatrefoils cost the diocese about $6 million to install.
The diocese also permanently sealed two 90-foot glass doors Shuller would open to preach to people outside the church, and installed air conditioning.
Bishop Vann and the architects removed a fountain that ran down the middle of the original space, and installed a baptismal font in a baptistry connected to the main space, and near the campus' nearly 1-acre ecumenical cemetery.