Many hands beautified cathedral - Catholic Courier

Many hands beautified cathedral

The renovation and restoration of Sacred Heart Cathedral required the talent and expertise of a number of architects, artists and consultants.
 
Father Richard S. Vosko, a priest of the Diocese of Albany, served as liturgical design consultant for the project. An award-winning consultant, he received the 2003 Georgetown Center for Liturgy Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Liturgical Life of the American Church. In addition to many parish and religious community projects his portfolio includes the construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, and restorations of St. John’s Cathedral in Milwaukee, and San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio.
 
“Bishop Matthew Clark is from my diocese,” he remarked. “I was proud to be called upon to work with him on the enhancement of the cathedral in his diocese.” Father Vosko said he had worked on 11 cathedral projects prior to Sacred Heart, and that the Rochester cathedral was his first such project in New York state.
 
“By enhancing Sacred Heart Cathedral for worship, we hope that all other churches will see it as a wonderful example of a Catholic place of worship,” he said.
 
Williamson Pounders Architects, P.C., of Memphis, Tenn., was the lead architectural firm for the renovation project. Williamson Pounders’ hired LaBella Associates, P.C., a Rochester-based firm that lent local architectural expertise and management.
 
Williamson Pounders has received several national awards for both new construction and restoration projects, and has extensive experience in the design and renovation of religious buildings and worship sites.
 
James F. Williamson, a partner in the firm, said there are “few projects more challenging for an architect than restoring an historic church while at the same time updating it to serve modern needs.”
 
“At Sacred Heart we have lovingly preserved and restored the best of the old while bringing the worship spaces into conformity with contemporary liturgical guidelines,” Williamson said. “It is my hope that as a result the people of Rochester will encounter an exciting new sense of the sacred that will enrich their lives and the lives of many future generations.”
 
LaBella Associates has worked on many church renovation projects in the Rochester Diocese, and has also partnered with national firms on projects of significant size and scope. The firm has received several design awards for engineering and architecture, both locally, and at the national level. Kevin Marren of LaBella, who served as project architect for the Sacred Heart effort, noted that his firm served as local manager of the construction contract; handled the project’s civil and structural engineering; and worked on the site plan approval process with the City of Rochester.
 
“I think what was exciting for me was the number of people involved in the design aspect,” Marren said, noting the collaboration between local, in-state and out-of-state contractors. “It was great collaborating with all these people, and it resulted in a lot of great work.”
 
The task of lighting the renovated cathedral was handled by the Rambusch Studios, located in Jersey City, N.J. Viggo Rambusch, president, noted that the cathedral’s new lighting system has 15 different preset lighting patterns. At the push of a button, the cathedral’s lighting can be changed to suit the occasion, he said.
 
“We can adjust the lighting for whatever liturgical action is taking place,” he said.
 
The company also oversaw the carving of a linden-wood statue of Mary and the infant Jesus by Italian sculptor Matteo Maroder. Rambusch said. He noted that Maroder’s family members have created works for such other diocesan churches as St. Thomas More in Brighton and St. Louis in Pittsford.
 
Conrad Schmitt Studios, a liturgical art firm from New Berlin, Wis., performed artistic painting and restoration, including:
• Repainting and retouching the decorative shields and stripes on the ceiling in the nave, or central area, of the church.
• Repainting the ceiling blocks in the transept, a rectangular area that cuts across the nave to form the shape of a cross. The plaster blocks, which also run down the side walls, have been repainted in a sandstone color.
‚Ä¢ Refinishing wooden panels near the cathedral’s main doors.
• Repainting 16 life-size angel figures that stand at the bases of the eight main roof beams, as well as numerous other angel figures throughout the cathedral.
‚Ä¢ Creation of a painted night sky in the new eucharistic chapel. The ceiling depicts the stars in the locations they are said to have appeared on March 3, 1868 — the day the Diocese of Rochester was founded.
 
Bernard Gruenke, of Conrad Schmitt, said he enjoyed working with diocesan leaders on the project. The restoration was “hard work, it was good work, and I think everything has been accomplished to everyone’s satisfaction,” he said.
 
Other companies participating in the cathedral’s renovation were:
 
‚Ä¢ Pike Stained Glass Studios of Rochester, one of the nation’s oldest stained-glass studios, restored seven windows in the cathedral.
 
• Oakwood Classic and Custom Woodworks LTD, of Henrietta, refurbished the ambo, or pulpit, and constructed the holy oil ambry.
 
‚Ä¢ John Dodd, an artist from South Bristol, N.Y., designed and built the cathedra — the bishop’s chair — as well as two presider’s chairs, two deacon’s chairs and a cantor’s stand. Dodd also crafted two tables for liturgical use.
 
• Canal Metalsmiths of Fairport, which restores and refinishes antiques, restored the sconces, or brass candle fixtures. The company also refinished the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that was formerly located inside the church and is now located outside on the Flower City Park side of the cathedral.
 
• Steuben Glass in Corning created the vessels for holy oils, which are located in the ambry.
 
• Morning Glory Studios are fabricating processional candles designed by Father Vosko.
 
• Arte Grande of Spain is fabricating the sanctuary lamps.

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