Masons installed the cornerstone on the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral on Friday, one of many last-minute touches to be done before a July 26 dedication Mass expected to draw 2,000 worshipers.
“It’s a very special moment,” said Juan Ibarra, 21, a stone mason with Brodie Contractors in Raleigh who said he has worked on the building since the foundation was laid. Ibarra said he is a Catholic and that working on the building has strengthened his faith.
He had help hoisting and leveling the red granite block from co-worker Jose Martinez. As they worked, Monsignor David Brockman and Monsignor Michael Shugrue led a small gathering in singing the hymn, “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”
The commemorative cornerstone bears the symbol IHS, the first three letters in the Greek spelling of Jesus’ name, in an eternal circle, and the Roman numerals for 2017. The stone was blessed by Pope Francis in December 2015.
Behind the stone, workers installed a time capsule filled with objects related to Cardinal Gibbons High School, which got its start on the land where the cathedral now stands. Included are several items from the school’s 100th anniversary commemoration in 2009: a program from the Mass that celebrated the anniversary, an annual report from the time, a Rubik’s Cube, a string of rosary beads and wood from the oak tree that was a favorite gathering place of students and still stands on the cathedral property. The capsule also contains a James Cardinal Gibbons Medal, like those given to the top 10 percent of each graduating class, and a crucifix given by Bishop Michael Burbidge to graduates.
Burbidge, who led the Diocese of Raleigh through the fundraising campaign and the construction of the cathedral, will return to deliver the homily at the dedication Mass at 2 p.m. on July 26. Burbidge left last year to become bishop of the Diocese of Arlington. His replacement here, Bishop Luis R. Zarama, will attend the dedication.
All seats for the liturgy have been reserved, but the service will be live-streamed on the diocese’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/DioceseofRaleigh.