Roman Catholic home of Bishop Clark, and the seat of the Diocese of Rochester. Almost nothing more is available on the internet about the history of the cathedral, but there is a video link ( (visit link
) ) that covers the origal construction in brief, and the 2003 renovations fairly completely. A transcription follows:
Sacred Heart: Inside Rochester's Cathedral
Video by Mike Crupi/Catholic Courier
Narated by Ginny Miller - Music Director, Sacred Heart Cathedral
The story of Rochester's Sacred Heart Cathedral began nearly 100 years ago when the parish was founded in 1911, by Monsenior George Burns. As the parish grew, more land was secured. The cornerstone to this present church was laid in 1925, and the building opened in 1927, still as a parish church.
With the closing and sale of the old Saint Patricks Cathedral located near Kodak headquarters on State Street, Sacred Heart became the temporary or pro-cathedral. In 1952, Sacred Heart was officially dedicated as our diocesan cathedral.
While some adaptations were made to the building following the Second Vatican Council, it wasn't until the most recent renovations, begun in 2003, that changes were made that would enable Sacred Heart to be more comfortably and practically both a parish and a diocesan church. These renovations included a new roof, more parking, better lighting and sound system, gardens and outdoor shrines, a brides room, additional restrooms, air conditioning and better handicapped
accessibility. The alter was moved forward into the midst of the people offering better sight lines. Flexible seating in the form of chairs, rather than pews, allows the seating pattern at the cathedral to be easily altered: chairs added and the aisles narrowed to increase seating to close to 800 for Christen Mass or Diocesan Confirmations, chairs removed to accomodate wedding and funeral processions. Removing all of the chairs in the rear of the church allows the entire assembly to gather around the font at the Easter Vigil.
As you walk down the aisle, to the front of the church, you'll notice nitches in the wall. These were once confessionals, but now they house various shrines. Near the font, with it's glass doors and Steuben vessels, is the Ambry, containing the oils used for baptism, confirmation, holy orders and the anointing of the sick. These oils are blessed by the bishop each year at the annual Christen Mass.
Other side nitches are shrines to Saint Joseph and Saint John Fisher, patron of the Diocese of Rochester. As we move to the front, you'll notice the alter, the symbol of Christ in the Eucarist. Made of dark granite, the alter is in the shape of a cross, mirroring the shape of the font. Sealed into the platform beneath the new alter are 65 alter stones and over 100 relics of saints, sent to Sacred Heart from parishes throughout the diocese.
Moving to the front left side of the cathedral, is the eucharistic chapel, or the Chapel of Reservation, where the blessed sacrament is reserved for the sick. The bonze housing of the tabernacle is from Rochester's Saint Philip Neary Church, where a priest and a nun died in a 1967 fire, while attempting to rescue the blessed sacrament. Look carefully at the ceiling in this chapel and you will see stars. Stars painted to match the nigh sky on the night of March 3, 1868, the day that the diocese of Rochester was established.
At the front of the cathedral, standing nearly 40 feet tall, you can't miss our Halorine All Saints organ, dedicated by Bishop Clark in September 2008, this 50 stop mechanical action instrument was built especially for our cathedral by Paul Fritz of Tacoma, Washington. Our organ takes its name from those generous donors who provided the funds for the instrument: Father Emmet Halorine, and two anonomous donors to honor those buried in two diocesan cemetaries.
Do you recognize the two carved figures on the organ? At the left is Saint Cecilia, patron saint of music, with her organ pipes. At the right Miriam, the prophetess, sister of Aaron, who in the Exodus story, took up the timbral or drum and sang a song to the Lord.
In front of the organ stands the ambo or pulpit. Once perched atop a pedastle base, and reached by climbing up several steps, it has been beautifully restored and nestled into the steps between the alter and choir area, speaking to the connection between the litergy of the Word and the litergy of the Eucharist.
Lastly, on the far right side, is our beautiful new statue of the Madona and child, which was carved in Italy from linden wood. Many people feel really drawn to this depiction of the young mother in headband, holding her bouncing baby Jesus. This statue, like so many peices throughout our cathedral can inspire hope and faith in parishoners and visitors alike. Those of us who are part of the cathedral community pray that this sacred space will continue to inspire for generations yet to come.
Transcript ends here.
Additional (but scant) information about the renovation can be found on wikipedia ( (visit link
See also (visit link
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