Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Priest shares news about L.A. church

Goal: 'Open eyes to a new vision'

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Cathedrals must shine as examples of cultural expression, said Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik, pastor of Los Angeles' under-construction Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

        “It is the role of the church to proclaim the word of Christ in a language understood by everyone,” Monsignor Kostelnik said. “The goal is not to celebrate diversity but rather to open eyes to a new vision that includes cultural expression.”

        He spoke Monday on “Bringing God Back Downtown,” the fifth ecumenical lecture series at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. The series is sponsored by the Cathedral Foundation, Northern Kentucky University and Thomas More College.

        Introduced as a “pastor without a church,” Monsignor Kostelnik described his job as the “public relations director on the design, role and meaning of a new cathedral.”

        He gives talks almost daily, spreading the good news about the $163 million Los Angeles Cathedral, two years away from completion. The cathedral, is being built on 5.6 acres adjacent to the Hollywood Freeway.

        Monsignor Kostelnik wants Our Lady of the Angels to fill the basic human needs of hunger in spirit and being, providing a place to rest and find respite.

        The project is getting international attention for its scope — in size, design and philosophy.

        It will serve the largest U.S. Catholic congregation, one that speaks 42 languages.

        It will seat 3,000 people, and will offer space for 5,000 people on an outdoor plaza.

        It will be the first church in downtown Los Angeles since St. Vibiana Cathedral was damaged and declared unsafe in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

        The cathedral will be high-tech, with cameras built into the walls, a live feed onto the Internet and a digital studio in the crypt. A Web site — www.ola-cathedral.org — lets visitors watch construction, and eventually will let them watch Mass online.

        Huge 30-foot doors off the plaza will be the only way to enter. Architect Jose Raphael Moneo of Madrid, Spain, designed the church with no right angles. He will use natural light and alabaster instead of stained glass in the windows.

        Built with alabaster, bronze, concrete, stone and wood, the church will literally float above the Earth, resting on steel and rubber shock absorbers designed to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 on the Richter scale. The cathedral will also be a designated earthquake disaster center.


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