Week 18 & 19 Cathedral Restoration Update
On the weekend of May 4 & 5, we had our 4th open house since the Cathedral closed for interior restoration in January.
The Knights of Columbus provided coffee and donuts after the 7:30 and 9:30 AM Masses.
People got the chance to ask questions and speak with representatives from Ribbeck Construction (Buzzy, Camilo and Richard).
Some went up the scaffolding to get a closer look at the work.
Many went to the very top for a rare opportunity to touch the ceiling and see the Four Evangelists up close. Way to go Newmans!
Others took a picture with the original image of Mary on the apse ceiling knowing that it would soon be replaced with another image. Here's Joey and Len Pousson.
Jimmy and Mary Bushnell with the Blessed Mother. Note that this original image of Our Lady would be preserved beneath the new image for posterity's sake.
Everyone was happy and excited to see the current progress!
Work continued the following week. Jeff of Emil Frei & Associates re-installed the stained glass windows that were removed for cleaning and repair.
The painters came afterwards for touch ups.
The apse mural, painted by an artist at the Conrad Schmitt Studios in New Berlin, Wisconsin, arrived in four separate pieces, each one rolled around a big tube like you see below.
First step is to apply adhesive on the section of the ceiling where the piece is going. Here's Mike and Sean installing the first piece.
Bryon removing bubbles after the second piece was installed.
Stoyko and Bryon installing the third piece. The second and third sections of the mural were a bit challenging to install since they had to line up the angels properly.
And here's the final and most beautiful piece! You'll have to wait until the official unveiling to see this magnificent art work : )
After all the pieces were glued in place, the crew then worked to clean up the seams, tie in the edges, touch up the paint, and put the finishing touches!
Here's Mike making sure the edges are sealed properly.
And Stoyko doing touch up painting.
After the apse mural was installed, the next task was to work on the frieze lettering below the clerestory windows.
The Angelic Salutation (first part of the Hail Mary) is now on the apse wall. Interesting fact: this particular font is unique to our church; it's nothing close to any of the hundreds of font options we have on the computer, so they had to re-create the font digitally in order to make the stencil.
Verses from an ancient Marian hymn, Tota Pulchra Es, are now beginning to re-appear on the transept and nave walls. Everyone was astonished to see them after the acoustical tiles were removed from the walls, and many expressed the wish to keep them or incorporate them in the new design.
The frieze lettering and gilding also went through a step by step process.
Step 1 - stencil the dark brown background
Step 2 - apply adhesive to the part where the gold leaf will go
Step 3 - the 23 karat gold leaf is applied. Here's Bryon applying the gold leaf.
Step 4 - remove the paper stencil pattern carefully.
Meanwhile, the two medallions with Christological symbols are now installed on the apse wall (on each side of the high altar), each one depicting Christ's sacrificial gift of Himself in the Most Holy Eucharist.
And the Pelican.
I would like to make a couple of announcements:
1. We won't have any more open houses until the project is completed. This next few weeks are crucial and very hectic for the contractor and the workers as they try their best to finish the project on time. The Bishop would like to have the Cathedral ready for the Ordinations on June 29th. There's still so much to do in so little time. We cannot afford them any more interruptions.
2. This is my last photo update. I have thoroughly enjoyed sending you pictures, videos, and interesting information regarding the restoration. I know you have enjoyed it too, for I have received numerous positive feedback from you. I have learned so much in the process, and look forward to the end with great anticipation
Now, it's time to prepare for the final outcome. In the Catholic Church, there's always a few weeks of preparation before a great feast (e.g. 4 weeks of Advent in preparation for Christmas, 5-6 weeks of Lent in preparation for Easter). This is our time to prepare and get ready. May our visual fasting soon give way to feasting!
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!
Fr. Rommel Tolentino
on Wednesday, May 15 at 3:01PM