Crystal Cathedral Set for Major Renovations to Reflect God, Catholic Worship

The Crystal Cathedral building in Orange County, Calif., is set for notable renovations to "reflect God" and make it suitable for Roman Catholic service and worship, Bishop Kevin W. Vann announced, and revealed that two firms have been selected to collaborate on the project.

"The Crystal Cathedral is an established international landmark and is much lauded for its architectural inspiration and iconic stature…Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios have the experience and ability to respect the building's original design inspiration while creating a fitting and functional spiritual home for Orange County's 1.3 million Catholics," Vann said at the eighth annual Orange County Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday.

The Catholic Diocese purchased the 3,000-seat building in 2012 from the protestant Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which founded it, and is set to rename the famous building as "Christ Cathedral" when it reopens for Catholic worship in 2015 or 2016.

The two firms will now be asked to "reimagine the Christ Cathedral to support the celebration of Catholic liturgy and the Eucharist, while maintaining the architectural splendor of the reflective glass façade of the building."

Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios will be charged with renovating the seven-building campus, which stretches over 34 acres.

The cathedral will be renovated with the focus to welcome visitors and the Catholic community at a "grand scale."

"In the Cathedral, the landmark architecture of the building shell will be cleaned and restored. Interior improvements on the main floor and mezzanines will upgrade access, sightlines, finishes and environmental comfort," Johnson said.

"Interior architecture will be designed to host an array of mass, celebrations, sacraments, services and non-liturgical events. The historic and internationally renowned organ which has been in place since the cathedral opened will be meticulously restored and reinstalled. Acoustics and lighting will be improved and the new cathedral will be open in renewed form to all."

Vann added that the work will be more than a renovation project, and will be a "reflection of God and his people on earth."

The Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday also served as an opportunity for church leaders to inform Orange's Catholic community of the planned renovations and other matters relating to the diocese.

Cindy Bobruk, the executive director of the Orange Catholic Foundation, told Catholic News Agency that an ambitious capital campaign has raised $60 million of its $100 million goal, and said that it gave people the chance "to be part of the living history of our diocese – to be able to watch this transformation take place, and actually invest in the transformation."

Vann concluded by describing Orange County as "a bustling place, with lots of noise and traffic and endless activity, a place where we can often feel isolated." He envisioned that "the day when the Cathedral in Garden Grove becomes our center of gravity, we as Catholics will make believers and non-believers our welcome guests."

The bishop added: "We and they will find it a place of refuge. Our Cathedral will be a place for involvement in the sacraments, a place to hear the Word of God proclaimed and a place for personal prayer and devotion. It will be a holy place where God dwells among us."

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