After eight years of dreaming, planning, fundraising and building, the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh opens the doors today, July 26, at the Holy Name of Jesus and “this new cathedral comes to life,” Bishop Michael Burbidge said.
At a press conference on the steps of the cathedral – in front of three sets of double doors that will be opened this afternoon to welcome more than 2,000 parishioners for a dedication mass – Burbidge said this is the moment he and others had worked for.
“For so many years you’re talking about a vision and ideas,” he said. With the building now complete and ready to receive worshipers, “You’re overwhelmed.”
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Burbidge, who presided over the project during 10 years as bishop for the diocese, was appointed bishop for the diocese in Arlington, Va., late last year. He hated to leave Raleigh, he said, with the cathedral so close to completion, but it was in good hands.
Returning to see the building as work finished up a few weeks ago was emotional, he said. As he arrived at the site, the bells were ringing. As he ascended the marble steps of the altar, “My knees buckled.”
Burbidge said he hopes that those seeing the cathedral today for the first time also are awed.
“What I would want them to see is that this is sacred. This is holy ground.”
The building, Burbidge said, “is designed to lift people’s hearts and souls to God.”