Anticipation Grows as Cathedral Preparations Advance

Gingerbread Cathedral at Saint Egbert School

The  Our Cathedral: One Faith, One People campaign is looking toward 2014 as a year of great progress. At the outset of the campaign in 2011, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge committed to build the Cathedral that the People of God allowed the Diocese to build. The response, after more than 400 parish receptions and countless conversations among volunteers and parishioners across the Diocese, has been gratifying. To date, 22,472 families and major donors have pledged to support the campaign. Now Bishop Burbidge is prayerfully responding to ongoing input from the faithful as the campaign moves into the final design and construction phases.

Work continues with the appointment of Mr. James O’Brien of O’Brien and Keane, who is the contract architect to oversee the design, development and construction of the new Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. Final architectural design plans and renderings are expected in the first quarter of 2014, and ground breaking is projected in the fourth quarter. “It is such a joy to experience the excitement and anticipation of Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, even among our children,” said Bishop Burbidge recently, after a week of pastoral visits during Catholic Schools Week. “The students know all about the Cathedral; the teachers are doing a great job.”

While visiting Saint Thomas More Preschool in Chapel Hill, Bishop Burbidge asked the 3-year-old class, “What is a cathedral?” They enthusiastically replied, “It’s a big tower.” Upon further questioning, they responded, “A ‘cafedral’ is a big church!” Pre-school classes were building model cathedrals out of wooden blocks and Legos. One second-grade class shared a Venn Diagram with the Bishop, comparing and contrasting a parish church and a cathedral.

“Our families and staff are privileged to be witness to this history unfolding before us,” said Dr. Michael Ashton, Principal of Saint Thomas More School. “We hope to bring our students to the Cathedral frequently enough so that they feel that it is as much a gathering place for their religious practice as our own parish church.”

Students at Saint Egbert Catholic School in Morehead City, NC, were eager to show off their artistic talents to the Bishop. They built a Gingerbread house cathedral, complete with colorful stained glass windows and a rose window.

In anticipation of the Bishop’s visit, students at St. Paul Catholic School in New Bern collected money and presented a donation for the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral to the Bishop in honor and memory of his mother, Mrs. Shirley Burbidge.

Students in the Lego Club at Annunciation Catholic School in Havelock are also building a model of the Cathedral. In the middle school, Fr. Greg Spencer is leading a model-building project.

“Our students are very excited about the Cathedral,” said Susan Parks, Principal of Annunciation Catholic School. “During his visit, Bishop Burbidge shared with the students plans to offer a Mass, which would include all of the students in all of the schools in the Diocese gathered in one place, our new Cathedral. When students heard this news, gasps of excitement were heard. They can hardly wait.”

Below: Pre-schoolers at Saint Thomas More built Cathedral models.