RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh’s Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral held its first mass Wednesday.
Cathedrals of this size are not common in the United States and Holy Name of Jesus is a sign of how much the Catholic community is growing in the Triangle. The cathedral is now the fifth-largest cathedral in the United States.
Father Kerber leads the Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Raleigh. He said they were having 12 mass services on the weekends and they still had people lined up around the block and standing during mass. He says they will still have mass during the week.
“We won’t have to be rushed, there will be parking, it’s just going to be a relief. It will be so much easier on the weekend,” Kerber said.
The project cost $41 million and took several years to design and build. Inside, the pews can hold 2,000 parishioners.
Jim O’Brien helped design the cathedral.
He said his firm, O’Brien & Keane Architecture, has designed churches before but never one of this size.
“The community and Bishop Burbidge really wanted a building that was traditional and timeless,” O’Brien said.
One of the most eye-catching pieces of the cathedral is the dome. The dome took 16,000 hours to build and weighs about as much as 54 elephants. It had to be lifted onto the cathedral with a special rig and crane.
As parishioners walk in, there are 95 stained glass windows. The sanctuary has marble, and the floors will be porcelain tile.
Many stained glass windows were salvaged from the Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church in Philadelphia after it closed.
In October, the Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, Michael Burbidge, was transferred to the Diocese of Arlington in Virginia. He said the cathedral is full of meaningful touches that are special to him and the church.
“It’s been a long process, but with a great effort and work, collaboration that was part of it, with God’s grace here we are,” Burbidge said. “This is sacred. This is holy ground. And everything in this building, everything, is designed to lift people’s hearts and souls to God.”