Workers lined up to receive a commemorative holy medal from St. Michael’s rector Fr. Michael Busch. A thanksgiving Mass for workers capped off the five-year, $128-million renovation of St. Michael’s Cathedral, Friday, Sept. 30. Photo by Michael Swan

Thanksgiving Mass for workers caps off St. Michael's five-year, $128-million renovation

  • September 30, 2016

Derval Edwards started out four years ago on his knees underneath St. Michael’s Cathedral excavating the crawlspace one bucket of dirt and rubble at a time. On Friday, Cardinal Thomas Collins gave him a medal.

At the end of five years of hard work, the first people Collins and St. Michael’s rector Fr. Michael Busch wanted to thank were the workers who made the $128 million renovation happen.

What Edwards and hundreds of other tradespeople have built is nothing less than a link between heaven and earth, said Collins in his homily at a noon Friday, Sept. 30 Mass of thanksgiving. The cardinal likened the restored St. Michael’s Cathedral to Jacob’s ladder.

“We’re not alone at the bottom of the ladder. We have this great connection to God,” Collins said.

The restored Cathedral is a vision by which people can know their lives have ultimate meaning and value, said the cardinal.

“Without vision, the people perish. With vision, the people flourish,” he said. “This is here so that the people will flourish and not perish.”

St. Michael’s was full to its expanded capacity of 1,300 for the weekday Mass, which was followed by a party on Bond Street catered by food trucks.

The crowd gave a standing ovation to Busch, bringing the bearlike pastor to tears as he stood at the ambo.

In addition to holy medals from the archdiocese bearing an image of the Archangel Michael, Buttcon Limited, one of the principal contractors over the life of the project, provided workers with commemorative jackets.

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