Solar stained glass panels on the spire of the new Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon recall the colour and movement of prairie skies.

PRAIRIE MESSENGER PHOTO | KIPLY LUKAN YAWORSKI

Solar stained glass panels on the spire of the new Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon recall the colour and movement of prairie skies.

May 7, 2012
NED POWERS
PRAIRIE MESSENGER

The cross atop the new Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon is a distinctive skyline feature and visible symbol elevating the character and spirit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.

Adorned with solar stained glass panels recalling the colour and movement of prairie skies, the spire raising up the cross is a focal point for the cathedral.

The steel cross stands 53 metres in height. It is one continuous unit that extends all the way through the roof structure, physically holding the building together, with the bottom 30 metres visible within the cathedral.

The solar stained glass on the spire was designed by artist Sarah Hall.

Bishop Donald Bolen said, "A church building and its art are designed to reflect the glory of God and God's creation.

"To also do that in a way that is environmentally responsible is achieved wonderfully with the solar art glass."

The cathedral opened just before Christmas and the Mass of blessing will be held May 13.

Hall also designed the five interior stained glass windows that circle the worship space, and explore themes of Creation, Covenant, Incarnation, Resurrection and Glory.

The exterior of the cathedral is clad in grey Tyndall stone. The roof and upper cladding are white.

Father David Tumback, cathedral rector, notes the extra height of the central entrance doors, which reach three metres to allow for ceremonial processions.

Fieldstones collected by parishes in the diocese are used in the fireplace and a nearby feature wall, as a tangible sign of diocesan unity.

The circular worship space of the cathedral signals a sense of love, belonging and oneness, says Tumback.

Seating capacity in the worship space is about 1,200, yet no seat is farther than 21 metres from the sanctuary. The back wall of the worship space can be opened to add seating for another 800.

GRANITE ALTAR

The cathedral altar and ambo are also carved from granite. Next to the altar is a large choir space, where the design allows for future installation of a two-storey Casavant pipe organ.

Adjacent to the worship space is the Eucharistic chapel, with room for seating around the tabernacle holding the reserved Blessed Sacrament.

The Queen of Peace Chapel seats some 75 people for daily Mass and smaller celebrations.

Stations of the Cross carved out of Saskatchewan northern white birch by Saskatoon artist William Judt adorn the walls of the chapel.

The diocesan Catholic Pastoral Centre is located directly above the parish offices.