The new Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon celebrated Mass for the first time Dec. 18, and on New Year’s Day, became the cathedral of the diocese. The building will also house diocesan offices. Photo by Tim Yaworski

Saskatoon makes the transition to new cathedral

By  Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Canadian Catholic News
  • January 11, 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 and Saskatoon-born Bishop Murray Chatlain of MacKenzie-Fort Smith in celebrating the liturgy, along with rector Fr. David Tumback, pastor of Holy Family, among others.

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

Tumback opened the Holy Family celebration Jan. 1 by reading a proclamation declaring that, with the approval of the Holy See, the new building is now the cathedral church of the diocese.

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

“It is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of things we celebrate today,” said Bolen.

“This is the feast of Mary the Mother of God, the World Day of Prayer for Peace, the beginning of the New Year, and a year filled with promise for us as diocese of Saskatoon. And as of today this is to be known as the Cathedral of the Holy Family.”

In his homily, LeGatt reflected on the concept of home, hearkening to Mary as the “home of Jesus Christ, the home of God.”

“This is a place of beauty,” LeGatt said of the new building, while emphasizing 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.” 

During the celebration, Tumback announced that the new cathedral hall will be named Bishop LeGatt Hall in recognition of the former Saskatoon bishop’s “wise and courageous vision” to build the cathedral.

A Bishops’ Levee hosted by the Knights of Columbus followed later in the afternoon, with hundreds visiting the new building to greet the bishops and tour the worship space.

Construction on the new cathedral began in the fall of 2009. It will serve as a parish home for the growing Holy Family congregation as well as the diocesan cathedral and Catholic Pastoral Centre.

Some 6,000-square feet in area, the building includes parish and diocesan offices, diocesan archives, a resource library, a hall, meeting areas and a pastor’s residence. The worship space seats some 1,200, with the ability to open the back to overflow seating for another 1,000 people when needed.

The spire 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. Hall also designed the five interior non-solar stained glass windows that circle the sanctuary.

(Prairie Messenger)

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