Catholic Diocese Undertaking $53 Million Renovations Project of Crystal Cathedral

The Catholic diocese that recently purchased the iconic Crystal Cathedral in Southern California is working on a $53 million renovations project for the 34 acre grounds.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has a list of several projects meant to improve the facilities, working under the motto of "from Crystal to Christocentric."

Ryan Lilyengren, director of Communications for the Diocese, told The Christian Post that the efforts were made to make the former Crystal Cathedral "the true center of the Diocese of Orange."

"The campus intends to be place of outreach to the materially poor and marginalized, [also] catechesis, evangelization, ecumenical dialogue, inter-religious cooperation and theological discourse," said Lilyengren. "After the renovation the cathedral will be formally dedicated in early 2015 and will begin to hold catholic celebrations of the Eucharist."

Lilyengren told CP about the many renovation projects involving Crystal Cathedral and its new name, "Christ Cathedral."

"The main sanctuary that seats nearly 3,000 people will become a spiritual home to Orange County's more than 1.2 million Catholics," said Lilyengren. "The Cathedral will close for an extensive $29 million renovation that will remake this space as a place of Catholic worship, reopening after its formal dedication in 2015."

Crystal Cathedral Ministries was founded in 1955 in Orange County by Rev. Robert H. Schuller. Known for its glass-paned walls and "Hour of Power" program, CCM filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

The Diocese of Orange purchased the CCM property in February of last year as part of the fallout from the bankruptcy. CCM's congregation has held worship services at St. Callistus Catholic Church since June 30 under the new name of Shepherd's Grove.

Lilyengren told CP that the main sanctuary of Christ Cathedral will be renovated to include items such as an altar and a "cathedra", or seat of the bishop, which is the derivative of the word "cathedral."

The renovation project has already involved improvements to the Arboretum building, which included installing a new air-conditioning system, seismic strengthening, glass replacement, landscaping and various aesthetic renovations. The total cost of the Arboretum building is about $5.7 million.

Catholic News Agency reported that work will also be done on Christ Cathedral's pipe organ, which is reportedly the fourth largest organ in the world.

"The future cathedral contains the fourth largest church organ in the world, valued at $25 million. It is due to be dismantled and shipped to Italy for renovation, and then re-installed," wrote Carl Bunderson.

The renovation project is currently focusing on transforming the former Family Life building, said Lilyengren.

"We are now renovating the former Family Life building, which will house the Christ Cathedral Academy (preschool and k-8) and the Diocese of Orange Pastoral Center – the Bishop's office," he said.

Shepherd's Grove congregation, which once owned the Crystal Cathedral property, did not return comment to The Christian Post by press time.

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