Bishop's cathedra is a gift from his priests
Bishop Clark's chair, or cathedra as it is known in Latin, was created from white oak and designed to complement the cathedral's ambo and architecture. Cathedra is the root of the word "cathedral," the church in which a bishop presides.
John Dodd, an artist from South Bristol, N.Y., designed and built the cathedra as well as two presider's chairs, two deacon's chairs and a cantor's stand. Dodd also crafted a credence table - which holds items to be used in a particular liturgy - and another table near the baptismal font that will hold the gifts before they are taken up during the offertory. "The pieces are all detailed with gold leaf and highlighted with red and blue paint," he said.
Dodd said his designs took into account the cathedral's Gothic structure, as well as the look and structure of the cathedral's historic ambo. He said he chose to construct the furniture out of white oak because that species best complements the ambo and the cathedral's architectural detail. Dodd noted that the challenge he faced was making the cathedra distinct but not ostentatious.
The cathedra was a 25th anniversary gift to Bishop Matthew H. Clark from the priests of the diocese. The gift echoes the decision by diocesan priests in 1893 to pay off the debt on St. Bernard's Seminary as a 25th anniversary gift for Rochester's first bishop, Bernard J. McQuaid, according to Father Charles Latus, pastor of Webster's St. Rita Parish and former chairman of the diocesan Priests' Council.
"(The Priests' Council) thought it was an appropriate gift and so we invited the rest of the priests to participate, and a very large number have participated in a very generous fashion," Father Latus said.