January 23, 2012

SASKATOON – The new Cathedral of the Holy Family was officially declared the diocesan home for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon at a celebration on New Year's Day.

Archbishop Albert LeGatt of St. Boniface was a special guest at the first diocesan celebration in the new building. During his time as bishop of Saskatoon, LeGatt initiated plans to construct the new cathedral and diocesan pastoral centre, in conjunction with a new church building for Holy Family Parish in northeast Saskatoon.

LeGatt joined Saskatoon Bishop Donald Bolen, Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Bryan Bayda, Saskatoon-born Bishop Murray Chatlain of Mackenzie-Fort Smith and several priests in celebrating the liturgy.

LeGatt and Bolen were also at St. Paul's Cathedral the evening before with Father Don Hamel, leading another diocesan celebration, expressing appreciation for that 100-year-old building's role as the diocesan cathedral since the diocese was formed in 1933-34. Permission to designate St. Paul's as a co-cathedral has been received from Rome.

A formal dedication and Mass of Blessing for the new cathedral will be held May 13, but the diocesan celebration on New Year's Day marks an important moment of transition, Bolen noted.

In his homily, LeGatt reflected on Mary as the "home of Jesus Christ, the home of God."

"This is a place of beauty," LeGatt said of the new building, while stressing the difference between a house and a home.

"I share your joy and your pride, and I just congratulate you on what you have accomplished: the creation of this beautiful place.

"But that is 'house.' Home is more," he said, describing home as a place of respect, of openness to others, of faithful love and life shared. "You are called to be the home of Jesus."

The new Cathedral of the Holy Family will serve as a parish home for the growing Holy Family congregation as well as the diocesan cathedral and Catholic Pastoral Centre.

The worship area seats some 1,200, with overflow seating for another 1,000 people when needed.

The spire of the building is topped by a cross reaching 53.8 metres into the sky. Lux Gloria solar stained glass artwork designed by Canadian artist Sarah Hall is installed on the spire.