The Loma Prieta earthquake badly damaged St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, but not the resolve of East Bay Catholics to rebuild the church one day.
After years of searching, the Diocese of Oakland has identified a downtown Oakland site to build the new Christ the Light Cathedral. The 110,000-square-foot property is near Grand Avenue and Harrison Street, next to Lake Merritt.
The diocese wants to open the cathedral center in 2007.
The $131 million project is expected to become a destination for visitors and for 1.5 million Bay Area Catholics. Approximately half a million Catholics live in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and the diocese expects 20 percent growth in the next 15 years. Masses are held in 17 languages.
Previously the architect Craig Hartman describes his design as “quite modern” and “unlike anything you’ve seen.”
This is not exactly a statement that encourages me. On the official site for The Cathedral of Christ the Lightt. Craig Hartman states:
�The tradition of the Catholic Church has historically been to apply the most advanced architectural thinking to create works of architecture that illuminate, inspire and ennoble the human spirit.�
That sure is the reason I go to church, to get my human spirit ennobled. Our daily life and the world just isn’t centered around us enough so we need some quiet time to sit and reflect on human spirit. And if there is any time left over I might also think about God.
In keeping with the themes expressed at Vatican II, Craig Hartman�s floor plan positions the main altar near the center of the cathedral�s interior, so that those attending Masses and liturgies can better become a community of participants.
Just when I managed to duck and avoid a Vatican II spirit coming my way, I get blindsided by a Vatican II theme. Well at least with this design they can rent out the Cathedral for boxing tournaments. Additionally this might actually be a good idea. Those who want to have the priest facing them can sit on that side, traditionalists that desire Ad Orientum can sit on the other side.
I realize I am ranting on this design sight unseen, but since the actual design isn’t included on the site’s 12 pages or any place I could find; that also doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. I hope to be wrong and that the eventual Cathedral helps the average person to worship the architect of creation, and not just a design that helps you to admire the architect of a church.