Thursday, April 20, 2000

Don't change cathedral, petitions ask

BY Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Those opposed to major renovations at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption — namely, having the main altar move closer to worshipers — have tried prayers and now petitions to sway Bishop Robert Muench of the Diocese of Covington.

        Dr. Art Kunath of Save Our Sanctuary, the ad hoc committee that formed to preserve the cathedral as it is, handed over the petitions with about 2,800 signatures protesting the change at a Wednesday meeting with the bishop.

        He will decide on a long list of proposed renovations within the next five weeks.

        The signatures were gathered from throughout the diocese.

        Both sides have agreed that the dialogue shared Wednesday at the Catholic Center in Erlanger would remain private.

        “We had a cordial discussion,” said Dr. Kunath, who refused further comment.

        Said diocesan spokesman Tim Fitzgerald: “Bishop Muench and Dr. Kunath agreed before the meeting that it was to be private, therefore the bishop is committed to honor this agreement.”

        The following are the proposed renovations that the bishop must decide on:

        • Moving the main altar 25 feet closer to the pews.

        • Converting the baldachin, a decorative canopy, into a devotional chapel behind the altar.

        • Moving the baptismal to the cathedral's Madison Avenue entrance from the south side of the sanctuary.

        • Adding new air-conditioning, heating and sound systems.

        • Repairing and protecting the church's 58 stained glass windows.

        • Repairing church art works.


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