Cathedral rector Fr. David Wynen shares the history of Hamilton’s Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King Photo by Kate Jamieson

Young adults gain new perspective on cathedral

By  Kate Jamieson, Youth Speak News
  • October 27, 2017
Hamilton, Ont. – “We love this place O God, where you are found and all are led,” sang a group of young people as Fr. David Wynen led a tour around Hamilton’s Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King.

The lyrics seemed a fitting accompaniment for the group’s glimpse into the history and architecture behind the 84-year-old cathedral.

“So glad to have had the opportunity to offer the tour and share the architectural beauty and liturgical importance of our diocesan cathedral,” Wynen told the 20 young adults invited to tour Hamilton’s landmark church Oct. 15. “The cathedral basilica is the ‘mother’ church of the diocese and the focal point of major diocesan celebrations. It’s really every Catholic’s home.”

Wynen pointed out many aspects of the beautiful architecture to the Hamilton Young Adults group, which was organized by Justin Peters, the family minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. He started the group last September as a way to connect young adults with events and opportunities to meet other Catholics.

The cathedral tour, he hoped, would be a “prayerful teaching night using the beauty of the art in the cathedral to teach and inspire.”

Within the church, Wynen drew attention to details such as the statues, including the wooden carving of Christ the King that greets those who enter the cathedral. It was created by a local artist from a single piece of wood.

The group was brought into the sanctuary where they were able to get a closer look at the ciborium with its intricate crown and the original tabernacle.

Outside, Wynen addressed the common myth that the church ran out of money while being built and that is why it has only one tower. The truth, he said, is that the cathedral was modelled off a church in France, which also had only one tower.

Andre Dias of Mississauga, Ont., came away from the tour with a special appreciation for church architecture.

“Before, you just go into a church and you think ‘Oh it’s beautiful there’s stained glass,’ or if it’s natural light, those type of things,” said Dias. “You don’t really think maybe there’s more to it, but now it’s something to consider when you go walk into your local parish.”

Perhaps some of the most beautiful details of the church are in the stained glass windows. Wynen described to the group how each window depicts a story of the Bible where Jesus is the central person.

The depiction of the Transfiguration was particularly eye-catching for those who attended.

“I didn’t grow up in Hamilton so it was really interesting how when it was built during the Depression,” said Candia Fletcher. “How people managed to get the materials to make such a magnificent cathedral.”

Constructed during the Great Depression, from 1930 to 1933, the Cathedral created jobs during tough economic times. The building is made from steel, covered by stone, all coming from Hamilton. The pews were made by Globe Furniture Co., a local company at the time.

(Jamieson, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge, Ont.)

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