CHARLESTON—The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist has officially been rededicated as the mother church of the Diocese of Charleston after going through many months of renovation.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated the Mass of Rededication on Aug. 30 for Cathedral parishioners and visitors who turned out for worship and a chance to view the awe-inspiring beauty of the newly renovated interior.
“It’s a day of great rejoicing as we rededicate this church by offering within it the sacrifice of the Mass,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “We gather around this altar today in love, and we also celebrate 200 years of a Catholic presence here in South Carolina, as well as the 350th anniversary of the city of Charleston. We thank God and praise God for all we have been able to do here as Catholics, and all of the wonderful opportunities we will have in the future.”
As part of the rededication ceremony, Bishop Guglielmone incensed the altar and the entire church, and special dedication candles were lit on the altar and in the sanctuary. The Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Brass provided hymns and instrumental music for the Mass, and were given a standing ovation by attendees.
During his homily, the bishop focused on the readings that were used for the Mass of Rededication, which described living water and the unique relationship between the temple of God and believers.
“We the people of God are the stream that flows from this temple to bring life to others,” he said. “Hopefully every time we gather here we will receive affirmation that will help us to bring life to a world that cries out for the presence of Christ. After experiencing the beauty of God’s house, we must become living water that brings affirmation and beauty to our communities and our world. The world needs the living strength that we as believing Christians can bring to it.”
The Cathedral officially reopened its doors for worship on Aug. 1 after being closed for 10 months for the renovations, which started in October 2019. The work carried on through the winter, spring and part of the summer, despite the eruption of the novel coronavirus pandemic in March. Artists and workers, who had come from Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc. of Milwaukee, lived in Charleston for months, and continued with their work even through the weeks of quarantine.
The renovation included the use of color, which transformed the Cathedral’s interior. The ceiling was turned into a blue sky with gold foil stars, designed to promote an image of heaven. The ceilings along the side aisles are done in rose, an ecru tone is on the side walls, and the wall behind the high altar is done in a crème color covered with stenciling. Faux marbling was added to columns with gold leaf accents, and updated lighting gives a new look to the entire space.
The entire project cost about $1.8 million and was raised through the “Restoring All Things in Christ” campaign.
“This was an absolutely amazing day, especially with the beauty of the music and the singing from the Cathedral choir, and the beauty of the Mass,” said Msgr. Steven L. Brovey, rector of the Cathedral. “It was special to be able to rededicate this beautiful Cathedral with the Mass, which strengthens us and nourishes us. The new renovations offer everyone a glimpse of heaven when they enter, and it strengthens us in our effort to be a witness to others. This Cathedral really is a true refuge from the craziness of the outside world right now.”
Cathedral parishioners who were present at the dedication included many members of the fundraising committee for the renovation. Mike Horkey served as chairman and said it was amazing to see the end results of the project and experience them while attending a beautiful liturgy.
“The day was a very positive experience and I thought the Mass was fantastic,” Horkey said. “The Cathedral’s new beauty is also wonderful to see after all the work that went into it. In my opinion, it has always been a beautiful historic structure, but to see it the way is now is just amazing.”
Read more about the renovations at https://themiscellany.org/2020/08/12/cathedral-of-st-john-the-baptist-is-filled-with-heavenly-aura/