Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Cathedral

     I serve in the Diocese of Greensburg in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and on this date, October 7th, we not only celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, but also the Anniversary of the Dedication of our Cathedral - Blessed Sacrament in the city of Greensburg.  On this day we remember that this building, one of many in this area set aside for the worship of God's People, was chosen and set aside as the Mother Church of this Diocese and became the center of worship and the place of "the chair" - the cathedra - from which the bishop shares his teaching office.

     Our Cathedral was a parish church since 1789 prior to the establishment of this Diocese in 1951, and was built and staffed by the Benedictine monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey.  They entrusted it to the Diocese when it was selected as the Cathedral Church.  It is small and architecturally simple when compared the the vast Cathedrals of Europe, or even our neighboring dioceses, but it is beautiful and our place to call home.  The architectural style is English Gothic, and within the last few years it underwent the second major renovation in its history as a Cathedral.  I'm on record as personally not liking the style of the renovations, but it is beautiful, as a couple from the parish who just attended the 50th Wedding Jubilee Mass recently pointed out to me.

     As Bishop Brandt installs the new pastors of the Diocese in their parishes, he speaks of the relationship of the priest with the bishop, the local parish with the diocesan church, and the local church to the mother church of the Diocese.  He mentions the Cathedral as being the Church of the "cathedra" - the Church of the Chair.   There is some criticism of the style of our new cathedra, and in a reaction to one such installation speech, the author of a previously (un) mentioned website ridiculed the bishop for his comments and reference to Chair, showing this person's lack of knowledge of ecclesiology and his failure to differentiate between the physical chair and the teaching "chair" of the bishop's office.

     I ask my readers to remember us in your thoughts and prayers today - laity, Religious, priests and bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg.  Remember and reflect upon the place of Church in the Family of God - the domestic church of our families, the local parish church which brings the domestic church together, and the Cathedral Church which unites them in mind and heart.  And remember Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, her parishioners, and her priests: Bishop Brandt, Msgr. Ray Riffle and Father Tyler Bandura.

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